The Dental College of Georgia’s Dr. Pachiappan Arjunan, assistant professor in the Department of Oral Biology and Diagnostic Sciences, recently worked with Dr. Xuri Li, scientific director at the State Key Laboratory of Ophthalmology in China, and their team of collaborators to identify Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor-B as an “endogenous antioxidant,” meaning an antioxidant produced within the body.
Antioxidants benefit the body by fighting against tumors, helping the immune system and protecting our skin and hair. They are typically found in nature. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, grains and chocolate may contain beneficial antioxidants, such as beta carotene in carrots, which helps eyes and vision.
Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors (VEGF) are produced by cells that stimulate blood vessel formation and function to create new blood vessels during the early stages of prenatal development, following an injury or to bypass blocked vessels. These naturally occurring growth factors are necessary for regulating cellular processes like cell growth, development and healing.
The application of external growth factors shows promise for treating various diseases ranging from treating ischemic brain injury to different types of neurodegenerative disorders. Arjunan and team’s research shows that VEGF-B also works internally as a type of antioxidant.
“The interesting phenomena is the endogenous growth factors are present in our own body, and it can appear when there is a real need for the body,” said Dr. Arjunan. “This is the first report to highlight the concealed mystery of this particular facet of VEGF-B that has not been explored so far.”