Current neurovascular research

Aggressive Antioxidant Reductive Stress Impairs Brain Endothelial Cell Angiogenesis and Blood Brain Barrier Function.

PMID 27897111


Oxidative stress in the brain microvasculature is a common characteristic in models of cerebrovascular disease. Considering the effects of reactive oxygen species activity in vascular-derived insults, it is naturally prudent to hypothesize those interventions inhibiting reactive oxygen species activity, such as antioxidant supplementation, may be beneficial for cerebrovascular disease. Hyper doses of antioxidant supplements, and foods with high antioxidant concentrations, are commonly used as an ongoing remedial and 'over-the-counter' treatments for most seasonal ailments. For the first time, this study reports the adverse effects of excess antioxidants on angiogenic properties of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) which have clinical implications. A medicinal tea, known as Rooibos, commonly used in South Africa and marketed globally, for its prominent antioxidant profile, demonstrated its effects on brain endothelial cellular proliferation, toxicology, mitochondrial activity and permeability. Mouse brain endothelial cells were seeded at cell densities ranging from 103-106 cells/ml and were incubated at pre-determined time intervals of 24 to120 hours. Daily exposure of a selected concentration range of fermented Rooibos tea caused dose-related decreases in cellular proliferation, and unequivocally decreased permeability across our in vitro BBB model. Despite the negative effects on cellular proliferation, no toxicity was observed for all selected fermented Rooibos concentrations. Our data conclusively shows that the use of excess antioxidants perturbs BBB functionality and angiogenic properties, adversely implicating the homeostatic regulation of the brain microenvironment, while suppression in cellular proliferation impacts both the maintenance and repair function of brain capillaries. Our study indicates that excess antioxidants will lead to an impaired response to mechanical-induced injury and pathogenic infection of the BBB, compromising patient recovery.