It is widely accepted the key role of endothelium in the onset of many chronic and acute vascular and cardiovascular diseases. In the last decade, traditional compounds utilized in "folk medicine" were considered with increasing interest to discover new bioactive molecules potentially effective in a wide range of diseases including cardiovascular ones. Since ancient times different parts of the Cucumis sativus L. plant were utilized in Ayurvedic medicine, among these, fruits were traditionally used to alleviate skin problem such as sunburn irritation and inflammation. The main purpose of the present research was, in a well-defined in vitro model of endothelial cells, to investigate whether a water/ethanol extract of Cucumis sativus L. (CSE) fruit can attenuate the damaging effect of pro-inflammatory lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Cell viability, gene expression of endothelial cell markers, cytokines secretion and in vitro angiogenesis assay were performed on porcine Aortic Endothelial Cells exposed to increasing doses (0.02; 02; 2 mg/ml) of CSE in the presence of pro-inflammatory lipopolysaccharide (LPS 10 μg/ml). CSE reduced LPS-induced cytotoxicity and decreased the cellular detachment, restoring the expression of tight junction ZO-1. The increase of TLR4 expression induced by LPS was counterbalanced by the presence of CSE, while the protective gene Hemeoxygenase (HO)-1 was increased. Cucumis sativus L. inhibited the early robust secretion of inflammatory IL-8 and GM-CSFs, furthermore inhibition of inflammatory IL-6 and IL-1α occurred late at 7 and 24 h respectively. On the contrary, the secretion of anti-inflammatory IL-10, together with IL-18 and IFN-γ was increased. Moreover, the in vitro angiogenesis induced by inflammatory LPS was prevented by the presence of Cucunis sativus L. extract, at any doses tested. Our results have clearly demonstrated that Cucumis sativus L. extract has attenuated lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammatory response in endothelial cells.
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