Felix Wittig, Florian Koch, Liza Pannenberg, Sander Bekeschus, Robert Ramer, Burkhard Hinz

β-Caryophyllene Inhibits Endothelial Tube Formation by Modulating the Secretome of Hypoxic Lung Cancer Cells—Possible Role of VEGF Downregulation

  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Spectroscopy
  • Molecular Biology
  • General Medicine
  • Catalysis

β-Caryophyllene (BCP), a bicyclic sesquiterpene that is a component of the essential oils of various spice and food plants, has been described as a selective CB2 cannabinoid receptor agonist. In the present study, the effect of BCP on angiogenesis was investigated. It was found that conditioned media (CM) from BCP-treated hypoxic A549 lung cancer cells exhibited a concentration-dependent inhibitory effect on human umbilical vein endothelial cell (HUVEC) tube formation induced by CM from vehicle-treated hypoxic A549 cells. There was an associated concentration-dependent decrease in the proangiogenic factor vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in the CM, with both BCP inhibitory effects (tube formation, VEGF secretion) being CB2 receptor-dependent. A reduction of the transcription factor hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α) was furthermore detected. The antiangiogenic and VEGF-lowering properties of BCP were confirmed when CM from another lung cancer cell line, H358, were tested. When directly exposed to HUVECs, BCP showed no significant effect on tube formation, but at 10 µM, impaired VEGF receptor 2 (VEGFR2) phosphorylation triggered by recombinant VEGF in a CB2 receptor-independent manner. In summary, BCP has a dual antiangiogenic effect on HUVECs, manifested in the inhibition of tube formation through modulation of the tumor cell secretome and additionally in the inhibition of VEGF-induced VEGFR2 activation. Because the CB2 agonist has no psychoactive properties, BCP should continue to be evaluated preclinically for further antitumor effects.

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