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1.  Age-Associated Defects in EphA2 Signaling Impair the Migration of Human Cardiac Progenitor Cells 
Circulation  2013;128(20):2211-2223.
Aging negatively impacts on the function of resident human cardiac progenitor cells (hCPCs). Effective regeneration of the injured heart requires mobilization of hCPCs to the sites of damage. In the young heart, signaling by the guidance receptor EphA2 in response to the ephrin A1 ligand promotes hCPC motility and improves cardiac recovery after infarction.
Methods and Results
We report that old hCPCs are characterized by cell-autonomous inhibition of their migratory ability ex vivo and impaired translocation in vivo in the damaged heart. EphA2 expression was not decreased in old hCPCs; however, the elevated level of reactive oxygen species in aged cells induced post-translational modifications of the EphA2 protein. EphA2 oxidation interfered with ephrin A1-stimulated receptor auto-phosphorylation, activation of Src family kinases, and caveolin-1-mediated internalization of the receptor. Cellular aging altered the EphA2 endocytic route, affecting the maturation of EphA2-containing endosomes and causing premature signal termination. Over-expression of functionally intact EphA2 in old hCPCs corrected the defects in endocytosis and downstream signaling, enhancing cell motility. Based on the ability of phenotypically young hCPCs to respond efficiently to ephrin A1, we developed a novel methodology for the prospective isolation of live hCPCs with preserved migratory capacity and growth reserve.
Our data demonstrate that the ephrin A1/EphA2 pathway may serve as a target to facilitate trafficking of hCPCs in the senescent myocardium. Importantly, EphA2 receptor function can be implemented for the selection of hCPCs with high therapeutic potential, a clinically relevant strategy that does not require genetic manipulation of stem cells.
PMCID: PMC3888551  PMID: 24141256
aging; EphA2; cell movement; cardiac regeneration; cardiac progenitor cells
2.  Inositol 1, 4, 5-Triphosphate Receptors and Human Left Ventricular Myocytes 
Circulation  2013;128(12):10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.113.002764.
Little is known concerning the function of inositol 1,4,5-triphosphate receptors (IP3Rs) in the adult heart experimentally. Moreover, whether these Ca2+ release channels are present and play a critical role in human cardiomyocytes remains to be defined. IP3Rs may be activated following Gαq-protein-coupled receptors (GPCR) stimulation affecting Ca2+ cycling, enhancing myocyte performance and, potentially, favoring an increase in the incidence of arrhythmias.
Methods and Results
IP3R function was determined in human left ventricular (LV) myocytes and this analysis was integrated with assays in mouse myocytes to identify the mechanisms by which IP3Rs influence the electrical and mechanical properties of the myocardium. We report that IP3Rs are expressed and operative in human LV myocytes. Following GPCR activation, Ca2+ mobilized from the sarcoplasmic reticulum via IP3Rs contributes to the decrease in resting membrane potential, prolongation of the action-potential, and occurrence of early after-depolarizations. Ca2+ transient amplitude and cell shortening are enhanced, and extra-systolic and dysregulated Ca2+ elevations and contractions become apparent. These alterations in the electromechanical behavior of human cardiomyocytes are coupled with increased isometric twitch of the myocardium and arrhythmic events, suggesting that GPCR activation provide inotropic reserve, which is hampered by electrical instability and contractile abnormalities. Additionally, our findings support the notion that increases in Ca2+ load by IP3Rs promote Ca2+ extrusion by forward mode Na+/Ca2+ exchange, an important mechanism of arrhythmic events.
Thus, the GPCR/IP3R axis modulates the electromechanical properties of the human myocardium and its propensity to develop arrhythmias.
PMCID: PMC3873649  PMID: 23983250
LV Human Myocytes; Calcium; IP3R; Arrhythmia
3.  Growth Properties of Cardiac Stem Cells Are a Novel Biomarker of Patients' Outcome After Coronary Bypass Surgery 
Circulation  2013;129(2):157-172.
The efficacy of bypass surgery in patients with ischemic cardiomyopathy is not easily predictable; preoperative clinical conditions may be similar, but the outcome may differ significantly. We hypothesized that the growth reserve of cardiac stem cells (CSCs) and circulating cytokines promoting CSC activation are critical determinants of ventricular remodeling in this patient population.
Methods and Results
To document the growth kinetics of CSCs, population-doubling time, telomere length, telomerase activity, and insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor expression were measured in CSCs isolated from 38 patients undergoing bypass surgery. Additionally, the blood levels of insulin-like growth factor-1, hepatocyte growth factor, and vascular endothelial growth factor were evaluated. The variables of CSC growth were expressed as a function of the changes in wall thickness, chamber diameter and volume, ventricular mass-to-chamber volume ratio, and ejection fraction, before and 12 months after surgery. A high correlation was found between indices of CSC function and cardiac anatomy. Negative ventricular remodeling was not observed if CSCs retained a significant growth reserve. The high concentration of insulin-like growth factor-1 systemically pointed to the insulin-like growth factor-1–insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor system as a major player in the adaptive response of the myocardium. hepatocyte growth factor, a mediator of CSC migration, was also high in these patients preoperatively, as was vascular endothelial growth factor, possibly reflecting the vascular growth needed before bypass surgery. Conversely, a decline in CSC growth was coupled with wall thinning, chamber dilation, and depressed ejection fraction.
The telomere-telomerase axis, population-doubling time, and insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor expression in CSCs, together with a high circulating level of insulin-like growth factor-1, represent a novel biomarker able to predict the evolution of ischemic cardiomyopathy following revascularization.
PMCID: PMC3969331  PMID: 24249720
coronary artery disease; receptor, IGF type 1; stem cells; telomerase; telomere; ventricular remodeling
4.  Ursolic Acid Inhibits Growth and Metastasis of Human Colorectal Cancer in an Orthotopic Nude Mouse Model by Targeting Multiple Cell Signaling Pathways: Chemosensitization with Capecitabine 
Development of chemoresistance, poor prognosis, and metastasis often renders the current treatments for colorectal cancer (CRC) ineffective. Whether ursolic acid (UA), a component of numerous medicinal plants, either alone or in combination with capecitabine, can inhibit the growth and metastasis of human CRC was investigated.
Experimental design
The effect of UA on proliferation of colorectal cancer cell lines was examined by mitochondrial dye-uptake assay, apoptosis by esterase staining, NF-κB activation by DNA binding assay and protein expression by western blot. The effect of UA on the growth and chemosensitization was also examined in orthotopically-implanted CRC in nude mice.
We found that UA inhibited the proliferation of different colon cancer cell lines. This is correlated with inhibition of constitutive NF-κB activation and downregulation of cell survival (Bcl-xL, Bcl-2, cFLIP, survivin), proliferative (Cyclin D1), and metastatic (MMP-9, VEGF, ICAM-1) proteins. When examined in an orthotopic nude-mice model, UA significantly inhibited tumor volume, ascites formation and distant organ metastasis, and this effect was enhanced with capecitabine. Immunohistochemistry of tumor tissue indicated that UA downregulated biomarkers of proliferation (Ki-67) and microvessel density (CD31). This effect was accompanied by suppression of NF-κB, STAT3, and β-catenin. In addition, UA suppressed EGFR, and induced p53, and p21 expression. We also observed bioavailability of UA in the serum and tissue of animals.
Overall our results demonstrate that UA can inhibit the growth and metastasis of CRC and further enhance the therapeutic effects of capecitabine through suppression of multiple biomarkers linked to inflammation, proliferation, invasion, angiogenesis, and metastasis.
PMCID: PMC3677707  PMID: 22832932
5.  Evidence for the Critical Roles of NF-κB p65 and Specificity Proteins in the Apoptosis-Inducing Activity of Proteasome Inhibitors in Leukemia Cells 
Biochimica et biophysica acta  2012;10.1016/j.bbadis.2012.01.002.
Although proteasome inhibitors, such as Bortezomib, have been approved for the treatment of multiple myeloma and mantle cell lymphoma, the mechanism by which they induce apoptosis is still incompletely understood. In the present study, we demonstrate that genetic deletion of the NF-κB p65 subunit abolished the ability of Bortezomib to induce apoptosis, indicating that p65 is needed for apoptosis. Although Bortezomib inhibited TNF–induced NF-κB activation through suppression of IκBα degradation, it also induced proteolytic degradation of constitutive NF-κB proteins, including p65, IκBα and p105. These effects were also observed with two other proteasome inhibitors, N-acetyl-leucylleucyl-norleucinal (ALLN) and MG132. The p65 is known to be linked with Specific proteins (Sp), and we found that proteasome inhibition also induced degradation of Sp-1, Sp-3, and Sp-4 proteins. Bortezomib induced apoptosis in cells expressing caspase-3 but not in cells that lack caspase-3, indicating the critical role for this enzyme in the apoptotic action of Bortezomib. Furthermore, inhibition of pan-caspases abolished Bortezomib-induced degradation of p65, p105 and Sp proteins, but not that of IκBα. Overall, our results demonstrate for the first time a critical role for the degradation of NF-κB and Sp proteins by caspases in the apoptosis-inducing activity of proteasome inhibitors, such as Bortezomib.
PMCID: PMC3340479
6.  Zyflamend Sensitizes Tumor Cells to TRAIL-Induced Apoptosis Through Up-Regulation of Death Receptors and Down-Regulation of Survival Proteins: Role of ROS-Dependent CCAAT/Enhancer-Binding Protein-Homologous Protein Pathway 
Antioxidants & Redox Signaling  2012;16(5):413-427.
Aim: TNF (tumor necrosis factor)-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL), is a selective killer of tumor cells, although its potential is limited by the development of resistance. In this article, we investigated whether the polyherbal preparation Zyflamend® can sensitize tumor cells to TRAIL. Results: We found that Zyflamend potentiated TRAIL-induced apoptosis in human cancer cells. Zyflamend manifested its effects through several mechanisms. First, it down-regulated the expression of cell survival proteins known to be linked to resistance to TRAIL. Second, Zyflamend up-regulated the expression of pro-apoptotic protein, Bax. Third, Zyflamend up-regulated the expression of death receptors (DRs) for TRAIL. Up-regulation of DRs was critical as gene-silencing of these receptors significantly reduced the effect of Zyflamend on TRAIL-induced apoptosis. The up-regulation of DRs was dependent on CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein-homologous protein (CHOP), as Zyflamend induced CHOP, its gene-silencing abolished the induction of receptors, and mutation of the CHOP binding site on DR5 promoter abolished Zyflamend-mediated DR5 transactivation. Zyflamend mediated its effects through reactive oxygen species (ROS), as ROS quenching reduced its effect. Further, Zyflamend induced DR5 and CHOP and down-regulated the expression of cell survival proteins in nude mice bearing human pancreatic cancer cells. Innovation: Zyflamend can sensitize tumor cells to TRAIL through modulation of multiple cell signaling mechanisms that are linked to ROS. Conclusion: Zyflamend potentiates TRAIL-induced apoptosis through the ROS-CHOP-mediated up-regulation of DRs, increase in pro-apoptotic protein and down-regulation of cell survival proteins. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 16, 413–427.
PMCID: PMC3261028  PMID: 22004570
7.  Chemosensitization of tumors by resveratrol 
Because tumors develop resistance to chemotherapeutic agents, the cancer research community continues to search for effective chemosensitizers. One promising possibility is to use dietary agents that sensitize tumors to the chemotherapeutics. In this review, we discuss that the use of resveratrol can sensitize tumor cells to chemotherapeutic agents. The tumors shown to be sensitized by resveratrol include lung carcinoma, acute myeloid leukemia, promyelocytic leukemia, multiple myeloma, prostate cancer, oral epidermoid carcinoma, and pancreatic cancer. The chemotherapeutic agents include vincristine, adriamycin, paclitaxel, doxorubicin, cisplatin, gefitinib, 5-Fluorouracil (5-FU), velcade, and gemcitabine. The chemosensitization of tumor cells by resveratrol appears to be mediated through its ability to modulate multiple cell signaling molecules, including drug transporters, cell survival proteins, cell proliferative proteins, and members of the NF-κB and STAT-3 signaling pathways. Interestingly, however, this nutraceutical has also been reported to suppress apoptosis induced by paclitaxel, vincristine, and daunorubicin in some tumor cells. The potential mechanisms underlying this dual effect are discussed. Overall, studies suggest that resveratrol can be used to sensitize tumors to standard cancer chemotherapeutics.
PMCID: PMC3060406  PMID: 21261654
apoptosis; cancer therapy; chemoresistance; chemosensitization; resveratrol; tumor
8.  Tocotrienols fight cancer by targeting multiple cell signaling pathways 
Genes & Nutrition  2011;7(1):43-52.
Cancer cells are distinguished by several distinct characteristics, such as self-sufficiency in growth signal, resistance to growth inhibition, limitless replicative potential, evasion of apoptosis, sustained angiogenesis, and tissue invasion and metastasis. Tumor cells acquire these properties due to the dysregulation of multiple genes and associated cell signaling pathways, most of which are linked to inflammation. For that reason, rationally designed drugs that target a single gene product are unlikely to be of use in preventing or treating cancer. Moreover, targeted drugs can cause serious and even life-threatening side effects. Therefore, there is an urgent need for safe and effective promiscuous (multitargeted) drugs. “Mother Nature” produces numerous such compounds that regulate multiple cell signaling pathways, are cost effective, exhibit low toxicity, and are readily available. One among these is tocotrienol, a member of the vitamin E family, which has exhibited anticancer properties. This review summarizes data from in vitro and in vivo studies of the effects of tocotrienol on nuclear factor-κB, signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) 3, death receptors, apoptosis, nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (Nrf2), hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) 1, growth factor receptor kinases, and angiogenic pathways.
PMCID: PMC3250528  PMID: 21484157
Tocotrienol; Inflammation; Cancer; Nutrition; Vitamin E; NF-κB; STAT3
9.  Delivery of anti-inflammatory nutraceuticals by nanoparticles for the prevention and treatment of cancer 
Biochemical pharmacology  2010;80(12):1833-1843.
Extensive research within the last two decades has revealed that most chronic illnesses, including cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases, are mediated through chronic inflammation. Thus, suppressing chronic inflammation has the potential to delay, prevent, and even treat various chronic diseases, including cancer. Various nutraceuticals from fruits, vegetables, vitamins, spices, legumes, and traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine have been shown to safely suppress proinflammatory pathways; however, their low bioavailability in vivo limits their use in preventing and treating cancer. We describe here the potential of nanotechnology to fill this gap. Several nutraceuticals, including curcumin, green tea polyphenols, coenzyme Q, quercetin, thymoquinone and others, have been packaged as nanoparticles and proven to be useful in “nano-chemoprevention” and “nano-chemotherapy.”
PMCID: PMC2974020  PMID: 20654584
Inflammation; diabetes; cancer; NF-κB; curcumin; nutraceuticals; nanotechnology
10.  Tocotrienols, the Vitamin E of the 21st Century: It’s Potential Against Cancer and Other Chronic Diseases 
Biochemical pharmacology  2010;80(11):1613-1631.
Initially discovered in 1938 as a “fertility factor,” vitamin E now refers to eight different isoforms that belong to two categories, four saturated analogues (α, β, γ, and δ) called tocopherols and four unsaturated analogues referred to as tocotrienols. While the tocopherols have been investigated extensively, little is known about the tocotrienols. Very limited studies suggest that both the molecular and therapeutic targets of the tocotrienols are distinct from those of the tocopherols. For instance, suppression of inflammatory transcription factor NF-κB, which is closely linked to tumorigenesis and inhibition of HMG-CoA reductase, mammalian DNA polymerases and certain protein tyrosine kinases, is unique to the tocotrienols. This review examines in detail the molecular targets of the tocotrienols and their roles in cancer, bone resorption, diabetes, and cardiovascular and neurological diseases at both preclinical and clinical levels. As disappointment with the therapeutic value of the tocopherols grows, the potential of these novel vitamin E analogues awaits further investigation.
PMCID: PMC2956867  PMID: 20696139
tocotrienols; anticancer; cholesterol; atherosclerosis; diabetes; bone resorption; neuroprotective
11.  Thiocolchicoside Exhibits Anticancer Effects through Downregulation of NF-κB Pathway and Its Regulated Gene Products Linked to Inflammation and Cancer 
The discovery of new uses for older, clinically approved drugs is one way to expedite drug development for cancer. Thiocolchicoside, a semisynthetic colchicoside from the plant Gloriosa superba, is a muscle relaxant and used to treat rheumatologic and orthopedic disorders because of its analgesic and anti-inflammatory mechanisms. Given that activation of the transcription factor NF-κB plays a major role in inflammation and tumorigenesis, we postulated that thiocolchicoside would inhibit NF-κB and exhibit anticancer effects through the modulation of NF-κB–regulated proteins. We show that thiocolchicoside inhibited proliferation of leukemia, myeloma, squamous cell carcinoma, breast, colon, and kidney cancer cells. Formation of tumor colonies was also suppressed by thiocolchicoside. The colchicoside induced apoptosis, as indicated by caspase-3 and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase cleavage, and suppressed the expression of cell survival [e.g., Bcl-2, X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis (XIAP), MCL-1, bcl-xL, cIAP-1, cIAP-2, and cFLIP] proteins. Cell proliferation biomarkers such as c-MYC and phosphorylation of phosphoinositide 3-kinase and glycogen synthase kinase 3β were also blocked by thiocolchicoside. Because most cell survival and proliferation gene products are regulated by NF-κB, we studied the effect of thiocolchicoside on this transcription factor and found that thiocolchicoside inhibited NF-κB activation, degradation of inhibitory κBα (IκBα), IκBα ubiquitination, and phosphorylation, abolished the activation of IκBα kinase, and suppressed p65 nuclear translocation. This effect of thiocolchicoside on the NF-κB pathway led to inhibition of NF-κB reporter activity and cyclooxygenase-2 promoter activity. Our results indicate that thiocolchicoside exhibits anticancer activity through inhibition of NF-κB and NF-κB–regulated gene products, which provides novel insight into a half-century old drug.
PMCID: PMC3142676  PMID: 20978115
12.  Cyclodextrin-Complexed Curcumin Exhibits Anti-inflammatory and Antiproliferative Activities Superior to Those of Curcumin Through Higher Cellular Uptake 
Biochemical pharmacology  2010;80(7):1021-1032.
Curcumin, a yellow pigment present in the spice turmeric (Curcuma longa), has been linked with multiple beneficial activities, but its optimum potential is limited by poor bioavailability, in part due to lack of solubility in aqueous solvents. To overcome the solubility problem, we have recently developed a novel cyclodextrin complex of curcumin (CDC) and examined here this compound for anti-inflammatory and antiproliferative effects. Using the electrophoretic gel shift mobility assay, we found that CDC was more active than free curcumin in inhibiting TNF-induced activation of the inflammatory transcription factor NF-κB and in suppressing gene products regulated by NF-κB, including those involved in cell proliferation (cyclin D1), invasion (MMP-9), and angiogenesis (VEGF). CDC was also more active than free curcumin in inducing the death receptors DR4 and DR5. Annexin V staining, cleavage of caspase-3 and PARP, and DNA fragmentation showed that CDC was more potent than free curcumin in inducing apoptosis of leukemic cells. Antiproliferative assays also demonstrated that CDC was more active than free curcumin in suppressing proliferation of various cancer cell lines. The cyclodextrin vehicle had no effect in these assays. Compared with free curcumin, CDC had a greater cellular uptake and longer half-life in the cells. Overall we demonstrated that CDC had superior attributes compared with free curcumin for cellular uptake and for antiproliferative and anti-inflammatory activities.
PMCID: PMC2923254  PMID: 20599780
Cyclodextrin complex of curcumin; Solubility; Apoptosis; NF-κB; Cancer
13.  Embelin Suppresses Osteoclastogenesis Induced by RANKL and Tumor cells In Vitro Through Inhibition of the NF-κB Cell Signaling Pathway 
Molecular cancer research : MCR  2010;8(10):1425-1436.
Most patients with cancer die not because of the tumor in the primary site, but because it has spread to other sites. Common tumors, such as breast, lung and prostate tumors, frequently metastasize to the bone. It is now well recognized that osteoclasts are responsible for the osteolysis observed in bone metastases of the tumor. RANKL, a member of the TNF superfamily and an activator of the NF-κB signaling pathway, has emerged as a major mediator of bone loss, commonly associated with cancer and other chronic inflammatory diseases. Embelin (2,5-dihydroxy-3-undecyl-1,4-benzoquinone), from an Ayurvedic medicinal plant Embelia ribes, has been shown to bind and inhibit XIAP protein and inhibit inflammatory pathways. We investigated whether embelin could inhibit osteoclastogenesis-associated bone loss induced by RANKL and by tumor cells in vitro. We found that embelin suppressed the RANKL-induced differentiation of monocytes into osteoclasts. This benzoquinone also suppressed the osteoclastogenesis induced by multiple myeloma and by breast cancer cells. This effect of embelin correlated with the suppression of NF-κB activation, inhibition of IκBα phosphorylation and IκBα degradation. Inhibition of IκBα phosphorylation was due to the inhibition of IκBα kinase activation. Furthermore, by using an inhibitor of the IκBα kinase γ or NF-κB essential modulator (NEMO), the regulatory component of the IκBα kinase complex, we demonstrated that the NF-κB signaling pathway is mandatory for RAW264.7 differentiation into osteoclasts. Thus, inhibitors of RANKL-induced NF-κB activation have great potential as therapeutic agents for osteoporosis and cancer-linked bone loss.
PMCID: PMC2974017  PMID: 20826545
Osteoclastogenesis; RANKL; NF-κB; Tumors; Signaling
14.  Identification of Novel Anti-inflammatory Agents from Ayurvedic Medicine for Prevention of Chronic Diseases 
Current drug targets  2011;12(11):1595-1653.
Inflammation, although first characterized by Cornelius Celsus, a physician in first Century Rome, it was Rudolf Virchow, a German physician in nineteenth century who suggested a link between inflammation and cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, pulmonary diseases, neurological diseases and other chronic diseases. Extensive research within last three decades has confirmed these observations and identified the molecular basis for most chronic diseases and for the associated inflammation. The transcription factor, Nuclear Factor-kappaB (NF-κB) that controls over 500 different gene products, has emerged as major mediator of inflammation. Thus agents that can inhibit NF-κB and diminish chronic inflammation have potential to prevent or delay the onset of the chronic diseases and further even treat them. In an attempt to identify novel anti-inflammatory agents which are safe and effective, in contrast to high throughput screen, we have turned to “reverse pharmacology” or “bed to benchside” approach. We found that Ayurveda, a science of long life, almost 6000 years old, can serve as a “goldmine” for novel anti-inflammatory agents used for centuries to treat chronic diseases. The current review is an attempt to provide description of various Ayurvedic plants currently used for treatment, their active chemical components, and the inflammatory pathways that they inhibit.
PMCID: PMC3170500  PMID: 21561421
15.  Neuroprotection by Spice-Derived Nutraceuticals: You Are What You Eat! 
Molecular neurobiology  2011;44(2):142-159.
Numerous lines of evidence indicate that chronic inflammation plays a major role in the development of various neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, brain tumor, and meningitis. Why these diseases are more common among people from some countries than others is not fully understood, but lifestyle factors have been linked to the development of neurodegenerative diseases. For example, the incidence of certain neurodegenerative diseases among people living in the Asian subcontinent, where people regularly consume spices, is much lower than in countries of the western world. Extensive research over the last 10 years has indicated that nutraceuticals derived from such spices as turmeric, red pepper, black pepper, licorice, clove, ginger, garlic, coriander, and cinnamon target inflammatory pathways, thereby may prevent neurodegenerative diseases. How these nutraceuticals modulate various pathways and how they exert neuroprotection are the focus of this review.
PMCID: PMC3183139  PMID: 21360003
Neurodegenerative diseases; Nutraceuticals; Neuroprotection; Spices; Inflammation; Alzheimer’s disease; Parkinson’s disease
16.  Celastrol suppresses invasion of colon and pancreatic cancer cells through the downregulation of expression of CXCR4 chemokine receptor 
Although metastasis accounts for >90% of cancer-related deaths, no therapeutic that targets this process has yet been approved. Because the chemokine receptor CXCR4 is one of the targets closely linked with tumor metastasis, inhibitors of this receptor have the potential to abrogate metastasis. In the current report, we demonstrate that celastrol can downregulate the CXCR4 expression on breast cancer MCF-7 cells stably transfected with HER2, an oncogene known to induce the chemokine receptor. Downregulation of CXCR4 by the triterpenoid was not cell type-specific as downregulation occurred in colon cancer, squamous cell carcinoma, and pancreatic cancer cells. Decrease in CXCR4 expression was not due to proteolysis as neither proteasome inhibitors nor lysosomal stabilization had any effect. Quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction analysis revealed that downregulation of CXCR4 messenger RNA (mRNA) by celastrol occurred at the translational level. Chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis revealed regulation at the transcriptional level as well. Abrogation of the chemokine receptor by celastrol or by gene-silencing was accompanied by suppression of invasiveness of colon cancer cells induced by CXCL12, the ligand for CXCR4. This effect was not cell type-specific as celastrol also abolished invasiveness of pancreatic tumor cells, and this effect again correlated with the disappearance of both the CXCR4 mRNA and CXCR4 protein. Other triterpenes, such as withaferin A and gedunin, which are known to inhibit Hsp90, did not downregulate CXCR4 expression, indicating that the effects were specific to celastrol. Overall, these results show that celastrol has potential in suppressing invasion and metastasis of cancer cells by down-modulation of CXCR4 expression.
PMCID: PMC3142743  PMID: 20798912
CXCR4; CXCL12; Colon cancer; NF-κB
17.  Role of nuclear factor-κB-mediated inflammatory pathways in cancer-related symptoms and their regulation by nutritional agents 
Cancer is a disease characterized by dysregulation of multiple genes and is associated with symptoms such as cachexia, anorexia, fatigue, depression, neuropathic pain, anxiety, cognitive impairment, sleep disorders and delirium (acute confusion state) in medically ill patients. These symptoms are caused by either the cancer itself or the cancer treatment. During the past decade, increasing evidence has shown that the dysregulation of inflammatory pathways contributes to the expression of these symptoms. Cancer patients have been found to have higher levels of proinflammatory cytokines such as interleukin-6. The nuclear factor (NF)- κB is a major mediator of inflammatory pathways. Therefore, anti-inflammatory agents that can modulate the NF-κB activation and inflammatory pathways may have potential in improving cancer-related symptoms in patients. Because of their multitargeting properties, low cost, low toxicity and immediate availability, natural agents have gained considerable attention for prevention and treatment of cancer-related symptoms. How NF-κB and inflammatory pathways contribute to cancer-related symptoms is the focus of this review. We will also discuss how nutritional agents such as curcumin, genistein, resveratrol, epigallocatechin gallate and lycopene can modulate inflammatory pathways and thereby reduce cancer-related symptoms in patients.
PMCID: PMC3141285  PMID: 21565893
cancer-related symptoms; cytokines; inflammation; NF-κB; nutraceuticals
18.  Targeting Inflammatory Pathways by Triterpenoids for Prevention and Treatment of Cancer 
Toxins  2010;2(10):2428-2466.
Traditional medicine and diet has served mankind through the ages for prevention and treatment of most chronic diseases. Mounting evidence suggests that chronic inflammation mediates most chronic diseases, including cancer. More than other transcription factors, nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-κB) and STAT3 have emerged as major regulators of inflammation, cellular transformation, and tumor cell survival, proliferation, invasion, angiogenesis, and metastasis. Thus, agents that can inhibit NF-κB and STAT3 activation pathways have the potential to both prevent and treat cancer. In this review, we examine the potential of one group of compounds called triterpenes, derived from traditional medicine and diet for their ability to suppress inflammatory pathways linked to tumorigenesis. These triterpenes include avicins, betulinic acid, boswellic acid, celastrol, diosgenin, madecassic acid, maslinic acid, momordin, saikosaponins, platycodon, pristimerin, ursolic acid, and withanolide. This review thus supports the famous adage of Hippocrates, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”.
PMCID: PMC3153165  PMID: 22069560
triterpenoids; nuclear factor-κB; inflammation; tumor cell proliferation; invasion; angiogenesis; apoptosis

Results 1-18 (18)