STAT3 activation has been associated with survival, proliferation and invasion of various human cancers. Whether betulinic acid, a pentacyclic triterpene, can modulates the STAT3 pathway, was investigated in human multiple myeloma (MM) cells. We found that betulinic acid inhibited constitutive activation of STAT3, Src kinase, JAK1 and JAK2. Pervanadate reversed the betulinic acid -induced down regulation of STAT3 activation, suggesting the involvement of a protein tyrosine phosphatase (PTP). Furthermore, betulinic acid induced the expression of the PTP SHP-1 and silencing of the SHP-1 gene abolished the ability of betulinic acid to inhibit STAT3 activation and rescues betulinic acid-induced cell death. Betulinic acid also downregulated the expression of STAT3-regulated gene products such as bcl-xL, bcl-2, cyclin D1, and survivin. This correlated with an increase in apoptosis as indicated by an increase in the sub-G1 cell population and an increase in caspase-3–induced PARP cleavage. Consistent with these results, over expression of constitutive active STAT3 significantly reduced the betulinic acid-induced apoptosis. Betulinic acid also enhanced the apoptosis induced by thalidomide (from 10% to 55%) and bortezomib (from 5% to 70%) in MM cells. Overall, our results suggest that betulinic acid down regulates STAT3 activation through upregulation of SHP-1 and this may have potential in sensitization of STAT3 over expressing tumors to chemotherapeutic agents.
Betulinic acid; STAT3; JAK1; JAK2; SHP-1; apoptosis
Pentacyclic triterpenes, mainly betulin and betulinic acid, are valuable anticancer agents found in the bark of birch tree. This study evaluates birch bark extracts for the active principles composition.
New improved extraction methods were applied on the bark of Betula pendula in order to reach the maximum content in active principles. Extracts were analyzed by HPLC-MS, Raman, SERS and 13C NMR spectroscopy which revealed a very high yield of betulin (over 90%). Growth inhibiting effects were measured in vitro on four malignant human cell lines: A431 (skin epidermoid carcinoma), A2780 (ovarian carcinoma), HeLa (cervix adenocarcinoma) and MCF7 (breast adenocarcinoma), by means of MTT assay. All of the prepared bark extracts exerted a pronounced antiproliferative effect against human cancer cell lines. In vivo studies involved the anti-inflammatory effect of birch extracts on TPA-induced model of inflammation in mice.
The research revealed the efficacy of the extraction procedures as well as the antiproliferative and anti-inflammatory effects of birch extracts.
Betulin; Birch extract; Anticancer; Raman; SERS; 13C NMR
Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) is a transcription factor that regulates various cellular processes such as cell survival, angiogenesis and proliferation. In the present study, we examined that betulinic acid (BA), a triterpene from the bark of white birch, had the inhibitory effects on hypoxia-mediated activation of STAT3 in androgen independent human prostate cancer PC-3 cells.
BA inhibited the protein expression and the transcriptional activities of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) under hypoxic condition. Consistently, BA blocked hypoxia-induced phosphorylation, DNA binding activity and nuclear accumulation of STAT3. In addition, BA significantly reduced cellular and secreted levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a critical angiogenic factor and a target gene of STAT3 induced under hypoxia. Furthermore, BA prevented in vitro capillary tube formation in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) maintained in conditioned medium of hypoxic PC-3 cells, implying anti-angiogenic activity of BA under hypoxic condition. Of note, chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChiP) assay revealed that BA inhibited binding of HIF-1α and STAT3 to VEGF promoter. Furthermore, silencing STAT3 using siRNA transfection effectively enhanced the reduced VEGF production induced by BA treatment under hypoxia.
Taken together, our results suggest that BA has anti-angiogenic activity by disturbing the binding of HIF-1α and STAT3 to the VEGF promoter in hypoxic PC-3 cells.
We previously described that betulinic acid (BetA), a naturally occurring pentacyclic triterpenoid, induces apoptosis in tumor cells through the mitochondrial pathway. Here, for the first time, we provide evidence that BetA cooperated with anticancer drugs to induce apoptosis and to inhibit clonogenic survival of tumor cells. Combined treatment with BetA and anticancer drugs acted in concert to induce loss of mitochondrial membrane potential and the release of cytochrome c and Smac from mitochondria, resulting in activation of caspases and apoptosis. Overexpression of Bcl-2, which blocked mitochondrial perturbations, also inhibited the cooperative effect of BetA and anticancer drugs, indicating that cooperative interaction involved the mitochondrial pathway. Notably, cooperation of BetA and anticancer drugs was found for various cytotoxic compounds with different modes of action (e.g., doxorubicin, cisplatin, Taxol, VP16, or actinomycin D). Importantly, BetA and anticancer drugs cooperated to induce apoptosis in different tumor cell lines, including p53 mutant cells, and also in primary tumor cells, but not in human fibroblasts indicating some tumor specificity. These findings indicate that using BetA as sensitizer in chemotherapy-based combination regimens may be a novel strategy to enhance the efficacy of anticancer therapy, which warrants further investigation.
Apoptosis; betulinic acid; cancer; mitochondria; resistance
Betulinic acid, a natural pentacyclic triterpene acid, presents a diverse mode of biological actions including anti-retroviral, antibacterial, antimalarial and anti-inflammatory activities. The potency of betulinic acid as an inhibitor of human platelet activation was evaluated and its antiplatelet profile against in vitro platelet aggregation, induced by several platelet agonists (Adenosine Diphosphate, Thrombin Receptor Activator Peptide-14 and Arachidonic Acid), was explored. Flow cytometric analysis was performed to examine the effect of betulinic acid on P-selectin membrane expression and PAC-1 binding to activated platelets. Betulinic acid potently inhibits platelet aggregation and also reduced PAC-1 binding and the membrane expression of P-selectin. Principal component analysis was used to screen, on the chemical property space, for potential common pharmacophores of betulinic acid with approved antithrombotic drugs. A common pharmacophore was defined between the NMR derived structure of betulinic acid and prostacyclin agonists (PGI2) and the importance of its carboxylate group in its antiplatelet activity was determined. The present results indicate that betulinic acid has potential use as an antithrombotic compound and suggest that the mechanism underlying the antiplatelet effects of betulinic acid is similar to that of the PGI2 receptor agonists, a hypothesis that reserves further investigation.
betulinic acid; platelet aggregation; ADP; antithrombotics
Betulinic Acid (BetA) and its derivatives have been extensively studied in the past for their anti-tumor effects, but relatively little is known about its precursor Betulin (BE). We found that BE induces apoptosis utilizing a similar mechanism as BetA and is prevented by cyclosporin A (CsA). BE induces cell death more rapidly as compared to BetA, but to achieve similar amounts of cell death a considerably higher concentration of BE is needed. Interestingly, we observed that cholesterol sensitized cells to BE-induced apoptosis, while there was no effect of cholesterol when combined with BetA. Despite the significantly enhanced cytotoxicity, the mode of cell death was not changed as CsA completely abrogated cell death. These results indicate that BE has potent anti-tumor activity especially in combination with cholesterol.
Previously, we reported that retigeric acid B (RB), a natural pentacyclic triterpenic acid isolated from lichen, inhibited cell growth and induced apoptosis in androgen-independent prostate cancer (PCa) cells. However, the mechanism of action of RB remains unclear. In this study, we found that using PC3 and DU145 cells as models, RB inhibited phosphorylation levels of IκBα and p65 subunit of NF-κB in a time- and dosage-dependent manner. Detailed study revealed that RB blocked the nuclear translocation of p65 and its DNA binding activity, which correlated with suppression of NF-κB-regulated proteins including Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, cyclin D1 and survivin. NF-κB reporter assay suggested that RB was able to inhibit both constitutive activated-NF-κB and LPS (lipopolysaccharide)-induced activation of NF-κB. Overexpression of RelA/p65 rescued RB-induced cell death, while knockdown of RelA/p65 significantly promoted RB-mediated inhibitory effect on cell proliferation, suggesting the crucial involvement of NF-κB pathway in this event. We further analyzed antitumor activity of RB in in vivo study. In C57BL/6 mice carrying RM-1 homografts, RB inhibited tumor growth and triggered apoptosis mainly through suppressing NF-κB activity in tumor tissues. Additionally, DNA microarray data revealed global changes in the gene expression associated with cell proliferation, apoptosis, invasion and metastasis in response to RB treatment. Therefore, our findings suggested that RB exerted its anti-tumor effect by targeting the NF-κB pathway in PCa cells, and this could be a general mechanism for the anti-tumor effect of RB in other types of cancers as well.
Epiceanothic acid (1) is a naturally occurring, but very rare pentacyclic triterpene with a unique pentacyclic triterpene (PT) structure. An efficient synthesis of 1 starting from betulin (3) has been accomplished in 12 steps with a total yield of 10% in our study. Compound 1 and selected synthetic intermediates were further evaluated as anti-HIV-1 agents, inhibitors of glycogen phosphorylase (GP), and cytotoxic agents. Compound 1 exhibited moderate HIV-1 inhibition. Most importantly, compound 5, with an opened A-ring, showed significant GP inhibitory activity with an IC50 of 0.21 μM, suggesting a potential for development as an anti-diabetic agent. On the other hand, compound 12, with a closed A-ring, showed potent cytotoxicity against A549 and MCF-7 human tumor cell lines, with IC50 values of 0.89 and 0.33 μM, respectively. These results suggest that the A-ring of PTs is an important pharmacophore that could be modified to involve different biological activities.
epiceanothic acid; pentacyclic triterpene; anti-HIV agents; glycogen phosphorylase inhibitors; cytotoxic agents
Betulinic acid is a natural product with a range of biological effects, for example potent antitumor activity. This anticancer property is linked to its ability to induce apoptotic cell death in cancer cells by triggering the mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis. In contrast to the cytotoxicity of betulinic acid against a variety of cancer types, normal cells and tissue are relatively resistant to betulinic acid, pointing to a therapeutic window. Compounds that exert a direct action on mitochondria present promising experimental cancer therapeutics, since they may trigger cell death under circumstances in which standard chemotherapeutics fail. Thus, mitochondrion-targeted agents such as betulinic acid hold great promise as a novel therapeutic strategy in the treatment of human cancers.
apoptosis; cancer; betulinic acid; mitochondria; AIF, apoptosis inducing factor; Apaf-1, Apoptotic protease activating factor-1; BA, betulinic acid; DIABLO, direct IAP Binding protein with Low PI; HtrA2, high temperature requirement protein A; IAPs, Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins; MOMP, mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization; ROS, reactive oxygen species; PARP, Poly (ADP-ribose) Polymerase; Smac, second mitochondria-derived activator of caspase; TNF, tumor necrosis factor; TRAIL, tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand; zVAD.fmk, N-benzyloxycarbonyl-Val-Ala-Asp-fluoromethylketone
Betulinic acid is a widely available plant-derived triterpene which is reported to possess selective cytotoxic activity against cancer cells of neuroectodermal origin and leukemia. However, the potential of betulinic acid as an antiproliferative and cytotoxic agent on vascular smooth muscle (VSMC) is still unclear. This study was carried out to demonstrate the antiproliferative and cytotoxic effect of betulinic acid on VSMCs using 3-[4,5-dimethylthizol-2-yl]-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay, flow cytometry cell cycle assay, BrdU proliferation assay, acridine orange/propidium iodide staining, and comet assay. Result from MTT and BrdU assays indicated that betulinic acid was able to inhibit the growth and proliferation of VSMCs in a dose-dependent manner with IC50 of 3.8 μg/mL significantly (P < 0.05). Nevertheless, betulinic acid exhibited G1 cell cycle arrest in flow cytometry cell cycle profiling and low level of DNA damage against VSMC in acridine orange/propidium iodide and comet assay after 24 h of treatment. In conclusion, betulinic acid induced G1 cell cycle arrest and dose-dependent DNA damage on VSMC.
Androgen receptor (AR) is the key molecule in androgen-refractory prostate cancer. Despite androgen ablative conditions, AR remains active and is necessary for the growth of androgen-refractory prostate cancer cells. Nuclear localization of AR is a prerequisite for its transcriptional activation. We examined AR localization in androgen-dependent and androgen-refractory prostate cancer cells.
METHODS AND RESULTS
We demonstrate increased nuclear localization of a GFP-tagged AR in the absence of hormone in androgen-refractory C4-2 cells compared to parental androgen-sensitive human prostate cancer LNCaP cells. Analysis of AR mutants impaired in ligand-binding indicates that the nuclear localization of AR in C4-2 cells is truly androgen-independent. The hsp90 inhibitor, 17-allylamino-17-demethoxygeldanamycin (17-AAG), inhibits basal PSA expression and disrupts the ligand-independent nuclear localization of AR at doses much lower than required to inhibit androgen-induced nuclear import.
Hsp90 is a key regulator of ligand-independent nuclear localization and activation of AR in androgen-refractory prostate cancer cells.
androgen receptor; Hsp90; prostate cancer; androgen-independence; intracellular localization
One of the major obstacles in understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying the transition of prostate cancer growth from androgen dependency to hormone-refractory state is the lack of androgen-regulated and tumorigenic human prostate cancer cell lines.
We have established and characterized a new human prostate cancer cell line, CWR22Pc, derived from the primary CWR22 human prostate xenograft tumors.
The growth of CWR22Pc cells is induced markedly by dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and CWR22Pc cells express high levels of androgen receptor (AR) and prostate specific antigen (PSA). Importantly, PSA expression in CWR22Pc cells is regulated by androgens. Stat5a/b, Stat3, Akt and MAPK were constitutively active or cytokine-inducible in CWR22Pc cells. The AR in CWR22Pc cells contains the H874Y mutation, but not the exon 3 duplication or other mutations. When inoculated subcutaneously into DHT-supplemented castrated nude mice, large tumors formed rapidly in 20/20 mice whereas no tumors developed in mice without circulating DHT. Moreover, the serum PSA levels correlated with the tumor volumes. When androgens were withdrawn from the CWR22Pc tumors grown in nude mice, the tumors initially shrank but re-grew back as androgen-independent tumors.
This androgen-regulated and tumorigenic human prostate cancer cell line provides a valuable tool for studies on androgen-regulation of prostate cancer cells and on the molecular mechanisms taking place in growth promotion of prostate cancer when androgens are withdrawn from the growth environment. CWR22Pc cells provide a model system for studies on the regulation of transcriptional activity of mutated H874YAR in a prostate cancer cell context.
prostate cancer; androgen-regulation; PSA; tumor growth; experimental model system
Natural products are frequently used for adjuvant chemotherapy in cancer treatment. 23-O-(1,4'-bipiperidine-1-carbonyl) betulinic acid (BBA) is a synthetic derivative of 23-hydroxybutulinic acid (23-HBA), which is a natural pentacyclic triterpene and the major active constituent of the root of Pulsatillachinensis. We previously reported that BBA could reverse P-glycoprotein (P-gp/ABCB1)-mediated multidrug resistance (MDR). In the present study, we investigated whether BBA has the potential to reverse multidrug resistance protein 7 (MRP7/ABCC10)-mediated MDR. We found that BBA concentration-dependently enhanced the sensitivity of MRP7-transfected HEK293 cells to paclitaxel, docetaxel and vinblastine. Accumulation and efflux experiments demonstrated that BBA increased the intracellular accumulation of [3H]-paclitaxel by inhibiting the efflux of [3H]-paclitaxel from HEK293/MRP7 cells. In addition, immunoblotting and immunofluorescence analyses indicated no significant alteration of MRP7 protein expression and localization in plasma membranes after treatment with BBA. These results demonstrate that BBA reverses MRP7-mediated MDR through blocking the drug efflux function of MRP7 without affecting the intracellular ATP levels. Our findings suggest that BBA has the potential to be used in combination with conventional chemotherapeutic agents to augment the response to chemotherapy.
Pollen grains induce allergies in susceptible individuals by release of allergens upon contact with mucosal membranes of the upper respiratory tract. We recently demonstrated that pollen not only function as allergen carriers but also as rich sources of bioactive lipids that attract cells involved in allergic inflammation such as neutrophils and eosinophils. Here we demonstrate that soluble factors from birch (Betula alba L.) pollen activate human dendritic cells (DCs) as documented by phenotypical and functional maturation and altered cytokine production. Betula alba L. aqueous pollen extracts (Bet.-APE) selectively inhibited interleukin (IL)-12 p70 production of lipopolysaccharide (LPS)- or CD40L-activated DC, whereas IL-6, IL-10, and TNFα remained unchanged. Presence of Bet.-APE during DC activation resulted in DC with increased T helper type 2 (Th2) cell and reduced Th1 cell polarizing capacity. Chemical analysis of Bet.-APE revealed the presence of phytoprostanes (dinor isoprostanes) with prostaglandin E1-, F1-, A1-, or B1-ring systems of which only E1-phytoprostanes dose dependently inhibited the LPS-induced IL-12 p70 release and augmented the Th2 cell polarizing capacity of DC. These results suggest that pollen-derived E1-phytoprostanes not only resemble endogenous prostaglandin E2 structurally but also functionally in that they act as regulators that modulate human DC function in a fashion that favors Th2 cell polarization.
A novel approach to reduce the anaphylactic activity of allergens is suggested. The strategy makes use of the presence of conformational immunoglobulin E (IgE) epitopes on one of the most common allergens. The three dimensional structure of the major birch pollen allergen, Bet v 1, was disrupted by expressing two parts of the Bet v 1 cDNA representing amino acids 1-74 and 75-160 in Escherichia coli. In contrast to the complete recombinant Bet v 1, the fragments showed almost no allergenicity and exhibited random coil conformation as analyzed by circular dichroism. Both nonanaphylactic fragments induced proliferation of human Bet v 1-specific T cell clones, indicating that they harbored all dominant T cell epitopes and therefore may be considered as a basis for the development of a safe and specific T cell immunotherapy.
Given the present high incidence of melanoma and skin cancer, interest in potential drugs of plant origin has increased significantly. Pentacyclic lupane-type triterpenes are widely distributed in plants, offering numerous pharmacological benefits. Betulin is an important compound in the bark of Betula pendula Roth and has important therapeutic properties, including antitumor activities. Its biological effect is limited by its poor water solubility, which can be improved by cyclodextrin complexation. The best results have been obtained by using a novel cyclodextrin derivative, octakis-[6-deoxy-6-(2-sulfanyl ethanesulfonate)]-γ-CD. The complexes between betulin and the previously mentioned cyclodextrin were analyzed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM)and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and pharmacologically evaluated in vitro (MTT and immunocytochemistry tests) and in vivo in C57BL/6J mice. The solubility of betulin is improved by cyclodextrin complexation, which creates a stable complex that improves the in vitro and in vivo properties of the active compound.
melanoma; betulin; cyclodextrin; MTT; immunocytochemistry; C57BL/6J mice; antitumor activity
Betulinic acid is a natural product possessing abundant and favourable biological activity, including anti-cancer, anti-malarial, anti-inflammatory and anti-HIV properties, while causing minimal toxicity to unaffected cells. The full biological potency of betulinic acid cannot be fully unlocked, however, for a number of reasons, a primary one being its limited solubility in aqueous and biologically pertinent organic media. Aiming to improve the water solubility of betulinic acid without disrupting its structurally related bioactivity, we have prepared different ionic derivatives of betulinic acid. Inhibition bioassays on HIV-1 protease-catalysed peptide hydrolysis indicate significantly improved performance resulting from converting the betulinic acid to organic salt form. Indeed, for one particular cholinium-based derivative, its water solubility is improved more than 100 times and the half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) value (22 μg mL−1) was one-third that of wide-type betulinic acid (60 μg mL−1). These encouraging results advise that additional studies of ionic betulinic acid derivatives as a therapeutic solution against HIV-1 infection are warranted.
Betulinic acid; anti-HIV; ionic liquid; HIV-1 protease; derivative
Despite its initial positive response to hormone ablation therapy, prostate cancers invariably recur in more aggressive, treatment resistant forms. The lack of our understanding of underlying genetic alterations for the transition from androgen-dependent (AD) to ADI prostate cancer growth hampers our ability to develop target-driven therapeutic strategies for the efficient treatment of ADI prostate cancer.
By screening a library of activated human kinases, we have identified TPL2, encoding a serine/threonine kinase, as driving ADI prostate cancer growth. TPL2 activation by over-expressing either wild-type or a constitutively activated form of TPL2 induced ADI growth, whereas the suppression of TPL2 expression and its kinase activity in ADI prostate cancer cells inhibited cell proliferation under androgen-depleted conditions. Most importantly, TPL2 is upregulated in ADI prostate cancers of both the Pten deletion mouse model and the clinical prostate cancer specimens.
Together these data suggest that TPL2 kinase plays a critical role in the promotion of ADI prostate cancer progression. Furthermore, the suppression of TPL2 diminishes ADI prostate cancer growth and a high frequency of TPL2 overexpression in human ADI prostate cancer samples validates TPL2 as a target for the treatment of this deadly disease.
Tumor, is one of the major reason for human death, due to its widespread occurrence. Betulinic acid derivatives have attracted considerable attention as cancer chemopreventive agents and also as cancer therapeutics. Many of its derivatives inhibit the growth of human cancer cell lines by triggering apoptosis. With this background, we planned to synthesize a series of betulinic acid derivatives to assess their antiproliferation efficacy on human cancer cell lines.
A series of novel betulinic acid derivatives were designed and synthesized as highlighted by the preliminary antitumor evaluation against MGC-803, PC3, A375, Bcap-37 and A431 human cancer cell lines in vitro. The pharmacological results showed that some of the compounds displayed moderate to high levels of antitumor activities with most of new exhibiting higher inhibitory activities compared to BA. The IC50 values of compound 3c on the five cancer cell lines were 2.3, 4.6, 3.3, 3.6, and 4.3 μM, respectively. Subsequent fluorescence staining and flow cytometry analysis (FCM) indicated that compound 3c could induce apoptosis in MGC-803 and PC3 cell lines, and the apoptosis ratios reached the peak (37.38% and 33.74%) after 36 h of treatment at 10 μM.
This study suggests that most of betulinic acid derivatives could inhibit the growth of human cancer cell lines. Furthermore, compound 3c could induce apoptosis of cancer cells.
Inhibition of the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) of protein degradation is a valid anti-cancer strategy and has led to the approval of bortezomib for the treatment of multiple myeloma. However, the alternative approach of enhancing the degradation of oncoproteins that are frequently overexpressed in cancers is less developed. Betulinic acid (BA) is a plant-derived small molecule that can increase apoptosis specifically in cancer but not in normal cells, making it an attractive anti-cancer agent. Our results in prostate cancer suggested that BA inhibited multiple deubiquitinases (DUBs), which resulted in the accumulation of poly-ubiquitinated proteins, decreased levels of oncoproteins, and increased apoptotic cell death. In normal fibroblasts, however, BA did not inhibit DUB activity nor increased total poly-ubiquitinated proteins, which was associated with a lack of effect on cell death. In the TRAMP transgenic mouse model of prostate cancer, treatment with BA (10 mg/kg) inhibited primary tumors, increased apoptosis, decreased angiogenesis and proliferation, and lowered androgen receptor and cyclin D1 protein. BA treatment also inhibited DUB activity and increased ubiquitinated proteins in TRAMP prostate cancer but had no effect on apoptosis or ubiquitination in normal mouse tissues. Overall, our data suggests that BA-mediated inhibition of DUBs and induction of apoptotic cell death specifically in prostate cancer but not in normal cells and tissues may provide an effective non-toxic and clinically selective agent for chemotherapy.
Epidemiological and laboratory studies support the hypothesis that several plant components influence prostate carcinogenesis and holds promise for disease prevention. Previously we reported that Nexrutine® (bark extract from Phellodendron amurense) inhibits proliferation of prostate cancer cells and prostate tumor development in the transgenic adenocarcinoma of mouse prostate (TRAMP) model through modulation of Akt signaling pathway. In the present investigation we conducted studies to further define the mechanism of action of Nexrutine® and to identify the active component associated with its biological activity.
Androgen-responsive, androgen-independent human prostate cancer cell lines and tissues from TRAMP mice fed Nexrutine® were used in these studies. Activity guided fractionation identified butanol fraction recapitulating the activities of Nexrutine® assessed by proliferation assays, apoptotic assays (DAPI and TUNEL staining), transient transfections, gel shift assays and Western blotting. In addition ultra-performance liquid chromatography (UPLC) of butanol fraction was used to identify active component of Nexrutine®.
Butanol fraction recapitulated the activities of Nexrutine® in (i) inhibiting proliferation; (ii) inducing apoptosis; and (iii) modulating transcriptional activity of NFκB in prostate cancer cells. Our data also indicates that both Nexrutine® and butanol fraction modulates NFκB transcriptional activity by inhibiting IκBα phosphorylation. Expression of p65 and phosphorylated IκBα are high in tumors from TRAMP mice. In contrast dietary administration of Nexrutine® reduced expression of p65 and phosphorylated IκBα in prostate from TRAMP mice. In addition using UPLC, we have identified berberine or closely related compound in the butanol fraction.
The results suggest that berberine or closely related component of butanol fraction may be responsible for the observed biological activities and induce apoptosis in prostate cancer cells by targeting critical cell survival signaling pathways both in vitro and in vivo.
nexrutine; apoptosis; fractionation
Betulinic acid, a triterpenoid isolated from the methyl alcohol extract of the leaves of Syzigium claviflorum, was found to have a potent inhibitory activity against human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). Betulinic acid derivatives were synthesized to enhance the anti-HIV activity. Among the derivatives, 3-O-(3′,3′-dimethylsuccinyl) betulinic acid, designated YK-FH312, showed the highest activity against HIV-induced cytopathic effects in HIV-1-infected MT-4 cells. To determine the step(s) of HIV replication affected by YK-FH312, a syncytium formation inhibition assay in MOLT-4/HIV-1IIIB and MOLT-4 coculture, a multinuclear-activation-of-galactosidase-indicator (MAGI) assay in MAGI-CCR5 cells, electron microscopic observation, and a time-of-addition assay were performed. In the syncytium formation inhibition assay or in the MAGI assay for de novo infection, the compound did not show inhibitory effects against HIV replication. Conversely, no virions were detected in HIV-1-infected cell cultures treated with YK-FH312 either by electron microscopic observation or by viral yield in the supernatant. In accordance with a p24 enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay of culture supernatant in the time-of-addition assay, YK-FH312 inhibited virus expression in the supernatant when it was added 18 h postinfection. However, Western blot analysis of the cells in the time-of-addition assay revealed that the production of viral proteins in the cells was not inhibited completely by YK-FH312. These results suggest that YK-FH312 might affect the step(s) of virion assembly and/or budding of virions, and this is a novel mechanism of action of an anti-HIV compound.
Proteasome inhibitors are known to suppress the proteasome-mediated degradation of IκBα in stimulated cells. This results in the cytoplasmic retention of NFκB and its reduced nuclear transcriptional activity. In this study, we show that in the metastatic prostate cancer cells, the proteasome inhibitors exhibit a novel, previously unrecognized effect: they increase the cellular levels of IκBα, which then translocates to the nucleus, associates with the nuclear p65 NFκB, thus inhibiting the constitutive NFκB DNA binding activity and inducing apoptosis. The proteasome inhibition-induced nuclear translocation of IκBα is dependent on de novo protein synthesis, occurs also in other cell types, and does not require IκBα phosphorylation on Ser-32. Since NFκB activity is constitutively increased in many human cancers as well as in inflammatory disorders, the proteasome inhibition-induced nuclear translocation of IκBα could thus provide a new therapeutic strategy aimed at the specific inhibition of NFκB activity by the nuclear IκBα.
Proteasome inhibition; IκBα; nuclear translocation; prostate cancer; NFκB; apoptosis
Drug resistance, a process mediated by multiple mechanisms, is a critical determinant for treating lung cancer. The aim of this study is to determine if oleanolic acid (OA), a pentacyclic triterpene present in several plants, is able to circumvent the mechanisms of drug resistance present in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell lines and to induce their death.
OA decreased the cell viability of the NSCLC cell lines A459 and H460 despite the presence of active, multidrug-resistant (MDR) MRP1/ABCC1 proteins and the anti-apoptotic proteins Bcl-2 and survivin. These effects are due to apoptosis, as evidenced by the capacity of OA to induce fragmentation of DNA and activate caspase 3. Induction of NSCLC cell death by OA cannot be explained by inhibition of the MDR proteins, since treatment with triterpene had little or no effect on the activity or expression of MRP1. Moreover, treatment with OA had no effect on the expression of the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2, but increased the expression of the pro-apoptotic protein Bax, altering the Bcl-2/Bax balance towards a pro-apoptotic profile. OA also decreased the expression of the anti-apoptotic protein survivin. Furthermore, OA decreased the expression of the angiogenic vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and decreased the development of melanoma-induced lung metastasis.
Our data provide a significant insight into the antitumoral and antimetastatic activity of OA in NSCLC and suggest that including OA in the NSCLC regimens may help to decrease the number of relapses and reduce the development of metastases.
The bombesin/gastrin-releasing peptide (GRP) family of neuropeptides has been implicated in various in vitro and in vivo models of human malignancies including prostate cancers. It was previously shown that bombesin and/or neurotensin (NT) acts as a survival and migratory factor(s) for androgen-independent prostate cancers. However, a role in the transition from an androgen-dependent to -refractory state has not been addressed. In this study, we investigate the biological effects and signal pathways of bombesin and NT on LNCaP, a prostate cancer cell line which requires androgen for growth. We show that both neurotrophic factors can induce LNCaP growth in the absence of androgen. Concurrent transactivation of reporter genes driven by the prostate-specific antigen promoter or a promoter carrying an androgen-responsive element (ARE) indicate that growth stimulation is accompanied by androgen receptor (AR) activation. Furthermore, neurotrophic factor-induced gene activation was also present in PC3 cells transfected with the AR but not in the parental line which lacks the AR. Given that bombesin does not directly bind to the AR and is known to engage a G-protein-coupled receptor, we investigated downstream signaling events that could possibly interact with the AR pathway. We found that three nonreceptor tyrosine kinases, focal adhesion kinase (FAK), Src, and Etk/BMX play important parts in this process. Etk/Bmx activation requires FAK and Src and is critical for neurotrophic factor-induced growth, as LNCaP cells transfected with a dominant-negative Etk/BMX fail to respond to bombesin. Etk's activation requires FAK, Src, but not phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase. Likewise, bombesin-induced AR activation is inhibited by the dominant-negative mutant of either Src or FAK. Thus, in addition to defining a new G-protein pathway, this report makes the following points regarding prostate cancer. (i) Neurotrophic factors can activate the AR, thus circumventing the normal growth inhibition caused by androgen ablation. (ii) Tyrosine kinases are involved in neurotrophic factor-mediated AR activation and, as such, may serve as targets of future therapeutics, to be used in conjunction with current antihormone and antineuropeptide therapies.