Costunolide (CT), a sesquiterpene lactone constituent isolated from Saussurea lappa (Compositae), exerted an antiangiogenic effect. CT selectively inhibited the endothelial cell proliferation induced by vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Further, CT was also found to inhibit the VEGF-induced chemotaxis of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) in a dose-dependent manner. From these results, we hypothesized that CT might inhibit angiogenesis by blocking the angiogenic factor signaling pathway. VEGF interacts with its cognate receptors, KDR/Flk-1 and Flt-1, and exerts its angiogenic effect. CT inhibited the autophosphorylation of KDR/Flk-1 without affecting that of Flt-1. Moreover, administration of CT reduced VEGF-induced neovascularization in a mouse corneal micropocket assay. These results suggest that CT may prove useful for the development of a novel angiogenesis inhibitor.
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