Demonstration of inhibitory effect of oral shark cartilage on basic fibroblast growth factor-induced angiogenesis in the rabbit cornea.
Biol Pharm Bull. 2001 Feb;24(2):151-4. PMID: 11217082
Several angiogenic inhibitors have been obtained from shark cartilage, some of these are currently in clinical trials for assessment of safety and therapeutic efficacy in humans. Still, shark cartilage taken orally is commonly used in alternative and complimentary medicine for various ailments including serious diseases such as cancer. However, only few studies of oral shark cartilage have demonstrated pharmacological effects in experimental animals or patients, to indicate safe doses with sufficient bioavailability. In the present study we demonstrated the antiangiogenic properties of oral shark cartilage in the rabbit cornea model. Slow-release, polymethylmetacrylate pellets containing basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) were surgically implanted in the rabbit cornea to stimulate neovascularization scored by stereo microscopy. Powdered shark cartilage (PSC; commercial product) was tested orally along with a water-soluble fraction (WSF) of this cartilage product which was tested by local application. Animals were treated with oral dosages of 100 mg/kg PSC or 200 mg/kg thalidomide as positive control. Pellets containing WSF (50, 100 or 200 microg/pellet) or bFGF-inhibitor pentosan polysulfate were implanted adjacent to the bFGF pellet. Oral shark cartilage inhibited bFGF-induced angiogenesis, as did oral thalidomide, in this in vivo model. WSF and pentosan polysulfate was shown to block neovascularization in the cornea when applied locally. This study demonstrates that in the rabbit, oral shark cartilage appears to produce systemic levels of angiogenesis inhibitors that can exert their effect at the cornea.