Sci Rep.2019 Nov 22;9(1):17417.doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-53870-3.

VEGF/Flk1 Mechanism is Involved in Roxarsone Promotion of Rat Endothelial Cell Growth and B16F10 Xenograft Tumor Angiogenesis

Shihao Chen  1   2 Jinge Xu  1   3 Qianhan Wei  1 Zeting Zhao  1   2 Xin Chen  1 Hengmi Cui  4 Yumei Zhang  5   6 Affiliations

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The potential angiogenic effect of roxarsone, a feed additive widely used to promote animal growth worldwide, was demonstrated recently. We explored the mechanism of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and its receptor (VEGFR) in roxarsone promotion of rat vascular endothelial cells (ECs) and B16F10 mouse xenografts. ECs were treated with 0.1-50 μM roxarsone or with roxarsone plus 10 ng/mL VEGF, VEGFR1 (Flt1), or VEGFR2 (Flk1) antibodies for 12-48 h to examine their role in cell growth promotion. Small interfering RNA (siRNA) targeting Vegf, Flt1, and Flk1 were transfected in the ECs, and we measured the expression level, cell proliferation, migration, and tube formation ability. The siRNA targeting Vegf or Flk1 were injected intratumorally in the B16F10 xenografts of mice that received 25 mg/kg roxarsone orally. Cell viability and VEGF expression following roxarsone treatment were significantly higher than that of the control (P < 0.05), peaking following treatment with 1.0 μM roxarsone. Compared to roxarsone alone, the VEGF antibody decreased cell promotion by roxarsone (P < 0.05), and the Flk1 antibody greatly reduced cell viability compared to the Flt1 antibody (P < 0.01). Roxarsone and Flk1 antibody co-treatment increased supernatant VEGF significantly, while cellular VEGF was obviously decreased (P < 0.01), whereas there was no significant difference following Flt1 antibody blockade. The siRNA against Vegf or Flk1 significantly attenuated the roxarsone promotion effects on EC proliferation, migration, and tube-like formation (P < 0.01), whereas the siRNA against Flt1 effected no obvious differences. Furthermore, the RNA interference significantly weakened the roxarsone-induced increase in xenograft weight and volume, and VEGF and Flk1 expression. Roxarsone promotion of rat EC growth, migration, and tube-like formation in vitro and of B16F10 mouse xenograft model tumor growth and angiogenesis involves a VEGF/Flk1 mechanism.