Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is one of the major complications of diabetes due to an impairment in angiogenesis. Since there is currently no drug with satisfactory efficacy to enhance blood vessel formation, discovering therapies to improve angiogenesis is critical. An imidazolinone metabolite of the metformin-methylglyoxal scavenging reaction, (E)-1,1-dimethyl-2-(5-methyl-4-oxo-4,5-dihydro-1H-imidazol-2-yl) guanidine (IMZ), was recently characterized and identified in the urine of type-2 diabetic patients. Here, we report the pro-angiogenesis effect of IMZ (increased aortic sprouting, cell migration, network formation, and upregulated multiple pro-angiogenic factors) in human umbilical vein endothelial cells. Using genetic and pharmacological approaches, we showed that IMZ augmented angiogenesis by activating the endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS)/hypoxia-inducible factor-1 alpha (HIF-1α) pathway. Furthermore, IMZ significantly promoted capillary density in the in vivo Matrigel plug angiogenesis model. Finally, the role of IMZ in post-ischemic angiogenesis was examined in a chronic hyperglycemia mouse model subjected to hind limb ischemia. We observed improved blood perfusion, increased capillary density, and reduced tissue necrosis in mice receiving IMZ compared to control mice. Our data demonstrate the pro-angiogenic effects of IMZ, its underlying mechanism, and provides a structural basis for the development of potential pro-angiogenic agents for the treatment of PAD.
FASEB J (FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology)
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