Open Access Open Badges Research article

Cheiradone: a vascular endothelial cell growth factor receptor antagonist

Sajjad Hussain1, Mark Slevin1, Mohammad A Mesaik3, Mohammad I Choudhary3, Abdul H Elosta1, Sabine Matou1, Nessar Ahmed1, David West2 and John Gaffney1*

Author affiliations

1 School of Biology, Chemistry and Health Science, Manchester Metropolitan University, Chester St. Manchester M1 5GD, UK

2 School of Biological Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, L69 7ZB, UK

3 H.E.J. Research Institute of Chemistry, International Centre for Biological and Chemical Sciences, University of Karachi, Karachi 75720, Pakistan

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Citation and License

BMC Cell Biology 2008, 9:7  doi:10.1186/1471-2121-9-7

Published: 29 January 2008



Angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels from the pre-existing vasculature is associated with physiological (for example wound healing) and pathological conditions (tumour development). Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2) and epidermal growth factor (EGF) are the major angiogenic regulators. We have identified a natural product (cheiradone) isolated from a Euphorbia species which inhibited in vivo and in vitro VEGF- stimulated angiogenesis but had no effect on FGF-2 or EGF activity. Two primary cultures, bovine aortic and human dermal endothelial cells were used in in vitro (proliferation, wound healing, invasion in Matrigel and tube formation) and in vivo (the chick chorioallantoic membrane) models of angiogenesis in the presence of growth factors and cheiradone. In all cases, the concentration of cheiradone which caused 50% inhibition (IC50) was determined. The effect of cheiradone on the binding of growth factors to their receptors was also investigated.


Cheiradone inhibited all stages of VEGF-induced angiogenesis with IC50 values in the range 5.20–7.50 μM but did not inhibit FGF-2 or EGF-induced angiogenesis. It also inhibited VEGF binding to VEGF receptor-1 and 2 with IC50 values of 2.9 and 0.61 μM respectively.


Cheiradone inhibited VEGF-induced angiogenesis by binding to VEGF receptors -1 and -2 and may be a useful investigative tool to study the specific contribution of VEGF to angiogenesis and may have therapeutic potential.