Polysaccharides from astragali radix restore chemical-induced blood vessel loss in zebrafish

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Guang Hu Gail B Mahady Shang Li Maggie Pui Man Hoi You-Hua Wang Simon Ming Yuen Lee



Astragali Radix has been used widely for the treatment of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, and to enhance endurance and stamina in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for over 2000 years. The polysaccharide constituents of Astragali Radix (ARP) are considered as one of the major constituents contributing to the multiple pharmacological effects of this medicinal plant. The purpose of the study is to evaluate the vascular regenerative activities of ARPs in a chemically-induced blood vessel loss model in zebrafish.


Blood vessel loss was induced in both Tg(fli-1a:EGFP)y1 and Tg(fli-1a:nEGFP)y7 embryos by administration of 300 nM VEGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor II (VRI) for 3 h at 24 hpf (hour post-fertilization). Then, the blood vessel damaged zebrafish were treated with ARPs for 21 h and 45 h after VRI withdrawal. Morphological changes in intersegmental vessels (ISVs) of zebrafish larvae were observed under the fluorescence microscope and measured quantitatively. The rescue effect of ARPs in the zebrafish models was validated by measuring the relative mRNA expressions of Kdrl, Kdr and Flt-1 using real-time PCR.


Two polysaccharide fractions, P4 (50000 D < molecular weight & diameter < 0.1 μm) and P5 (molecular diameter > 0.1 μm), isolated from Astragali Radix by ultrafiltration, produced a significant and dose-dependent recovery in VRI-induced blood vessel loss in zebrafish. Furthermore, the down-regulation of Flk-1 and Flt-1 mRNA expression induced by VRI was reversed by treatment with P4.


The present study demonstrates that P4 isolated from Astragali Radix reduces VRI-induced blood vessel loss in zebrafish. These findings support the hypothesis that polysaccharides are one of the active constituents in Astragali Radix, contributing to its beneficial effect on treatment of diseases associated with a deficiency in angiogenesis.

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How to Cite
HU, Guang et al. Polysaccharides from astragali radix restore chemical-induced blood vessel loss in zebrafish. Vascular Cell, [S.l.], v. 4, n. 1, p. 2, feb. 2012. ISSN 2045-824X. Available at: <https://vascularcell.com/index.php/vc/article/view/10.1186-2045-824X-4-2>. Date accessed: 20 jan. 2022. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/2045-824X-4-2.
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