Publications & Posters

Apigenin restores endothelial function by ameliorating oxidative stress, reverses aortic stiffening, and mitigates vascular inflammation with aging

American Journal of Physiology – Heart and Circulatory Physiology | June 29, 2021

Clayton ZS, Hutton DA, Brunt VE, VanDongen NS, Ziemba BP, Casso AG, Greenberg NT, Mercer AN, Rossman MJ, Campisi J, Melov S and Seals DR

Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2021;321:H185-h196



We assessed the efficacy of oral supplementation with the flavanoid apigenin on arterial function during aging and identified critical mechanisms of action. Young (6 mo) and old (27 mo) C57BL/6N mice (model of arterial aging) consumed drinking water containing vehicle (0.2% carboxymethylcellulose; 10 young and 7 old) or apigenin (0.5 mg/mL in vehicle; 10 young and 9 old) for 6 wk. In vehicle-treated animals, isolated carotid artery endothelium-dependent dilation (EDD), bioassay of endothelial function, was impaired in old versus young (70% ± 9% vs. 92% ± 1%, P < 0.0001) due to reduced nitric oxide (NO) bioavailability. Old mice had greater arterial reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and oxidative stress (higher nitrotyrosine) associated with greater nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate oxidase (oxidant enzyme) and lower superoxide dismutase 1 and 2 (antioxidant enzymes); ex vivo administration of Tempol (antioxidant) restored EDD to young levels, indicating ROS-mediated suppression of EDD. Old animals also had greater aortic stiffness as indicated by higher aortic pulse wave velocity (PWV, 434 ± 9 vs. 346 ± 5 cm/s, P < 0.0001) due to greater intrinsic aortic wall stiffness associated with lower elastin levels and higher collagen, advanced glycation end products (AGEs), and proinflammatory cytokine abundance. In old mice, apigenin restored EDD (96% ± 2%) by increasing NO bioavailability, normalized arterial ROS, oxidative stress, and antioxidant expression, and abolished ROS inhibition of EDD. Moreover, apigenin prevented foam cell formation in vitro (initiating step in atherosclerosis) and mitigated age-associated aortic stiffening (PWV 373 ± 5 cm/s) by normalizing aortic intrinsic wall stiffness, collagen, elastin, AGEs, and inflammation. Thus, apigenin is a promising therapeutic for arterial aging.