Propranolol as antiangiogenic candidate for the therapy of hereditary haemorrhagic telangiectasia

Journal: Thrombosis and Haemostasis
ISSN: 0340-6245
Issue: 2012: 108/1 (July) pp. 1-200
Pages: 41-53

Propranolol as antiangiogenic candidate for the therapy of hereditary haemorrhagic telangiectasia

See also Editorial by Breier

V. Albiñana (1), L. Recio-Poveda (1), R. Zarrabeitia (2), C. Bernabéu (1), L. M. Botella (1)

(1) Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas (CIB), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) and Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Raras (CIBERER), Madrid, Spain; (2) Hospital Sierrallana, Centro de Referencia HHT, Torrelavega, Cantabria, Spain


HHT, endoglin, epistaxis, ALK1, Propranolol


The β-blocker propranolol, originally designed for cardiological indications (angina, cardiac arrhythmias and high blood pressure), is nowadays, considered the most efficient drug for the treatment in infantile haemangiomas (IH), a vascular tumour that affects 5–10% of all infants. However, its potential therapeutic benefits in other vascular anomalies remain to be explored. In the present work we have assessed the impact of propranolol in endothelial cell cultures to test if this drug could be used in the vascular disease hereditary haemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT). This rare disease is the result of abnormal angiogenesis with epistaxis, mucocutaneous and gastrointestinal telangiectases, as well as arteriovenous malformations in several organs, as clinical manifestations. Mutations in Endoglin (ENG) and ACVLR1 (ALK1) genes, lead to HHT1 and HHT2, respectively. Endoglin and ALK1 are involved in the TGF-β1 signalling pathway and play a critical role for the proper development of the blood vessels. As HHT is due to a deregulation of key angiogenic factors, inhibitors of angiogenesis have been used to normalise the nasal vasculature eliminating epistaxis derived from telangiectases. Thus, the antiangiogenic properties of propranolol were tested in endothelial cells. The drug was able to decrease cellular migration and tube formation, concomitantly with reduced RNA and protein levels of ENG and ALK1. Moreover, the drug showed apoptotic effects which could explain cell death in IH. Interestingly, propranolol showed some profibrinolytic activity, decreasing PAI-1 levels. These results suggest that local administration of propranolol in the nose mucosa to control epistaxis might be a potential therapeutic approach in HHT.

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