Algal derivative rhamnan sulfate reduces vascular inflammation and atherosclerotic plaque formation



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The glycocalyx, an interior lining of blood vessels, forms a barrier against atherosclerotic risk factors. It is degraded during plaque development, allowing cholesterol deposition and inflammation in the intima. Rhamnan sulfate (RS), a polysaccharide from green seaweed, resembles heparan sulfate, a component of the glycocalyx which can replace and rejuvenate the glycocalyx to enhance barrier function and prevent plaque formation. In vitro, we tested the interaction of RS with vascular cells and its effects on their proliferation, migration and inhibition of the NF-κb pathway. We also tested the effects of RS on glycocalyx stiffness and thickness post-inflammation. In vivo, we conducted a study in female and male ApoE [superscript -/-] mice on a high fat diet where RS treatment was provided orally. We found that RS decreased growth factor induced proliferation and migration of endothelial and vascular smooth muscle cells. It also decreased the activation of NF-κb in response to TNF-α treatment while binding to NF-κb subunits. Mechanical properties of the glycocalyx could be restored with RS under certain inflammatory conditions. ApoE [superscript -/-] mice, oral consumption of RS decreased cholesterol levels in the plasma in female mice and plaque area in both female and male mice. In livers of these mice, RS treatment showed significant differences in genes related to metabolism, circadian rhythm and lipid regulation between high fat diet and RS groups and male and female mice.


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