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Influence of Echinacea purpurea intake during pregnancy on fetal growth and tissue angiogenic activity.

Author(s): Ewa Barcz | Ewa Sommer | Jadwiga Nartowska | Barbara Balan | Joanna Chorostowska-Wynimko | Ewa Skopińska-Rózewska

Journal: Folia Histochemica et Cytobiologica
ISSN 0239-8508

Volume: 45;
Issue: Suppl 1;
Start page: 35;
Date: 2008;
Original page

The process of angiogenesis and control of blood vessels sprouting are fundamental to human health, as they play key roles in many physiological and pathological conditions. Intake of different pharmaceuticals with antiangiogenic activity by pregnant women may lead to severe developmental disturbances as it was described in case of thalidomide. It may also cause immunomodulatory effects as it was shown for antibiotics, theobromine, caffeic acid or catechins on the pregnant mice model. At present, Echinacea purpurea-based phytoceuticals are among the most popular herbals in the marketplace. Many compounds of Echinacea extracts (polysaccharides, alkamides, polyphenols, glycoproteins) exert immunomodulatory, anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory activity. Echinacea is one of the most powerful and effective remedies against many kinds of bacterial and viral infections. In previous studies we shown significant inhibitory effect of the Echinacea purpurea based remedy on tumour angiogenic activity using cutaneous angiogenesis test, and an inhibitory effect on L-1 sarcoma growth was observed . The aim of the present study was to establish whether pharmaceuticals containing alcoholic extracts of Echinacea purpurea given to pregnant mice influence angiogenic activity and tissue VEGF and bFGF production of their fetuses. We showed that angiogenic activity of tissue homogenates was increased in Esberitox group and diminished in case of Immunal forte as compared to standard diet group. In case of Echinapur group we did not find significant differences in angiogenic activity. VEGF and bFGF concentration were lower in all groups compared to the control. In the case of Echinapur and Esberitox number of fetuses in one litter were slightly lower as compared to control group, but the difference is on the border of statistical significance. In conclusion, there is some possibility that pharmaceuticals containing Echinacea purpurea might influence fetal development in human also, because they may interfere with embrional angiogenesis , and should not be recommended for pregnant women.

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