Objective Cilostazol is an antiplatelet agent with vasodilatory effects that works by increasing intracellular concentrations of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP). This study investigated the effects of cilostazol in preventing high glucose (HG)-induced impaired angiogenesis and examined the potential mechanisms involving activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). Methods Assays for colony formation, adhesion, proliferation, migration, and vascular tube formation were used to determine the effect of cilostazol in HG-treated endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) or human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). Animal-based assays were performed in hyperglycemic ICR mice undergoing hind limb ischemia. An immnunoblotting assay was used to identify the expression and activation of signaling molecules in vitro and in vivo. Results Cilostazol treatment significantly restored endothelial function in EPCs and HUVECs through activation of AMPK/acetyl-coenzyme A carboxylase (ACC)-dependent pathways and cAMP/protein kinase A (PKA)-dependent pathways. Recovery of blood flow in the ischemic hind limb and the population of circulating CD34+ cells were significantly improved in cilostazol-treated mice, and these effects were abolished by local AMPK knockdown. Cilostazol increased the phosphorylation of AMPK/ACC and Akt/endothelial nitric oxide synthase signaling molecules in parallel with or downstream of the cAMP/PKA-dependent signaling pathway in vitro and in vivo. Conclusions Cilostazol prevents HG-induced endothelial dysfunction in EPCs and HUVECs and enhances angiogenesis in hyperglycemic mice by interactions with a broad signaling network, including activation of AMPK/ACC and probably cAMP/PKA pathways.
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