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1.  Quercetin Induces Mitochondrial Mediated Apoptosis and Protective Autophagy in Human Glioblastoma U373MG Cells 
Quercetin is a dietary flavonoid with known antitumor effects against several types of cancers by promoting apoptotic cell death and inducing cell cycle arrest. However, U373MG malignant glioma cells expressing mutant p53 are resistant to a 24 h quercetin treatment. In this study, the anticancer effect of quercetin was reevaluated in U373MG cells, and quercetin was found to be significantly effective in inhibiting proliferation of U373MG cells in a concentration-dependent manner after 48 and 72 h of incubation. Quercetin induced U373MG cell death through apoptosis, as evidenced by the increased number of cells in the sub-G1 phase, the appearance of fragmented nuclei, decreased mitochondrial membrane potential, proteolytic activation of caspase-3 and caspase-7, an increase in caspase-3 and 9 activities, and degradation of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase protein. Furthermore, quercetin activated JNK and increased the expression of p53, which translocated to the mitochondria and simultaneously led to the release of cytochrome c from mitochondria to the cytosol. We also found that quercetin induced autophagy. Pretreatment with chloroquine, an autophagy inhibitor, strongly augmented apoptosis in U373MG cells, indicating that quercetin induced protective autopagy in U373MG cells.
PMCID: PMC3863523  PMID: 24379902
2.  Ulmus davidiana var. japonica Nakai Upregulates Eosinophils and Suppresses Th1 and Th17 Cells in the Small Intestine 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e76716.
The bark of Ulmus davidiana var. japonica Nakai (Ulmaceae) has been used in traditional Korean medicine for chronic inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. Here we investigated the frequency and cytokine profile of the major immune cells in the small intestinal lamina propria (SI LP), spleen, and mesenteric lymph nodes (MLNs) of mice treated orally with Ulmus davidiana var. japonica Nakai bark water extract (UDE) to address the immunomodulatory role of this herb in intestinal homeostasis. B6 mice were given 5g/kg UDE once daily for 14 days. They were then sacrificed, and cells were isolated from the spleen, MLNs, and SI LP. The proportion of B versus T lymphocytes, CD4+ versus CD8+ T lymphocytes, Th1 and Th17 cells, and Foxp3+ regulatory T cells in the spleen, MLNs, and SI LP were analyzed. The frequency of antigen-presenting cells (APCs), including dendritic cells, macrophages, and eosinophils in the SI LP and the expression of costimulatory molecules on APCs were also evaluated. The numbers and frequencies of Th1 and Th17 cells in the SI LP were significantly reduced in the UDE-treated mice compared with PBS controls. In addition, the proportion of IL-4-producing eosinophils in the SI LP was significantly elevated in the UDE-treated mice compared with controls. Taken together, these data indicate that UDE up-regulates the number and frequency of SI LP eosinophils, which can down-regulate the Th1 and Th17 responses via IL-4 secretion and contribute to intestinal homeostasis.
PMCID: PMC3792050  PMID: 24116141
3.  A Hexane Fraction of Guava Leaves (Psidium guajava L.) Induces Anticancer Activity by Suppressing AKT/Mammalian Target of Rapamycin/Ribosomal p70 S6 Kinase in Human Prostate Cancer Cells 
Journal of Medicinal Food  2012;15(3):231-241.
This study was carried out to evaluate the anticancer effects of guava leaf extracts and its fractions. The chemical compositions of the active extracts were also determined. In the present study, we set out to determine whether the anticancer effects of guava leaves are linked with their ability to suppress constitutive AKT/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)/ribosomal p70 S6 kinase (S6K1) and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activation pathways in human prostate cancer cells. We found that guava leaf hexane fraction (GHF) was the most potent inducer of cytotoxic and apoptotic effects in PC-3 cells. The molecular mechanism or mechanisms of GHF apoptotic potential were correlated with the suppression of AKT/mTOR/S6K1 and MAPK signaling pathways. This effect of GHF correlated with down-regulation of various proteins that mediate cell proliferation, cell survival, metastasis, and angiogenesis. Analysis of GHF by gas chromatography and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry tentatively identified 60 compounds, including β-eudesmol (11.98%), α-copaene (7.97%), phytol (7.95%), α-patchoulene (3.76%), β-caryophyllene oxide (CPO) (3.63%), caryophylla-3(15),7(14)-dien-6-ol (2.68%), (E)-methyl isoeugenol (1.90%), α-terpineol (1.76%), and octadecane (1.23%). Besides GHF, CPO, but not phytol, also inhibited the AKT/mTOR/S6K1 signaling pathway and induced apoptosis in prostate cancer cells. Overall, these findings suggest that guava leaves can interfere with multiple signaling cascades linked with tumorigenesis and provide a source of potential therapeutic compounds for both the prevention and treatment of cancer.
PMCID: PMC3282482  PMID: 22280146
AKT/mammalian target of rapamycin/ribosomal p70 S6 kinase; apoptosis; guava leaves; prostate cancer
4.  Morusin induces cell death through inactivating STAT3 signaling in prostate cancer cells 
STAT3 has been recognized as an efficacious drug target for prostate cancer because of its constitutive activation in this fatal disease. We recently identified the root bark of Morus alba Linn. as a potential STAT3 inhibitor among 33 phytomedicines traditionally used in Korea. Morusin, an active compound isolated from the root bark of Morus alba, has shown anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. In the present study, we examined whether morusin has a potential as an anti-cancer agent in prostate cancer. We found that morusin suppressed viability of prostate cancer cells, but little effect in normal human prostate epithelial cells. Morusin also reduced STAT3 activity by inhibiting its phosphorylation, nuclear accumulation, and DNA binding activity. In addition, morusin down-regulated expression of STAT3 target genes encoding Bcl-xL, Bcl-2, Survivin, c-Myc and Cyclin D1, which are involved in regulation of apoptosis and cell cycle. Furthermore, morusin induced apoptosis in human prostate cancer cells by reducing STAT3 activity. Taken together, these results suggest that morusin could be a potentially therapeutic agent for prostate cancer by reducing STAT3 activity and inducing apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC4300697  PMID: 25628938
Morusin; prostate cancer; apoptosis; STAT3; SHP1; traditional phytomedicine
5.  γ-tocotrienol inhibits angiogenesis-dependent growth of human hepatocellular carcinoma through abrogation of AKT/mTOR pathway in an orthotopic mouse model 
Oncotarget  2014;5(7):1897-1911.
Angiogenesis is one of the key hallmarks of cancer. In this study, we investigated whether γ-tocotrienol can abrogate angiogenesis-mediated tumor growth in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and if so, through what molecular mechanisms. We observed that γ-tocotrienol inhibited vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-induced migration, invasion, tube formation and viability of HUVECs in vitro. Moreover, γ-tocotrienol reduced the number of capillary sprouts from matrigel embedded rat thoracic aortic ring in a dose-dependent manner. Also, in chick chorioallantoic membrane assay, γ-tocotrienol significantly reduced the blood vessels formation. We further noticed that γ-tocotrienol blocked angiogenesis in an in vivo matrigel plug assay. Furthermore, γ-tocotrienol inhibited VEGF-induced autophosphorylation of VEGFR2 in HUVECs and also suppressed the constitutive activation of AKT/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signal transduction cascades in HUVECs as well as in HCC cells. Interestingly, γ-tocotrienol was also found to significantly reduce the tumor growth in an orthotopic HCC mouse model and inhibit tumor-induced angiogenesis in HCC patient xenografts through the suppression of various biomarkers of proliferation and angiogenesis. Taken together, our findings strongly suggest that γ-tocotrienol might be a promising anti-angiogenic drug with significant antitumor activity in HCC.
PMCID: PMC4039111  PMID: 24722367
γ-tocotrienol; HCC; angiogenesis; AKT/mTOR; orthotopic model.
6.  Hexane Fractions of Bupleurum falcatum L. Stimulates Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Secretion through Gβγ-Mediated Pathway 
Bupleurum falcatum L. has been used traditionally as a medicinal herb in Korean medicine. The hexane fraction of BF (HFBF), which was profiled with Direct Analysis in Real Time-Mass Spectrometry (DART-MS), activates the secretion of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) in NCI-H716 cells significantly. We performed a microarray analysis and GLP-1 ELISA assay, as well as calcium imaging experiments with inhibitors, to investigate the mechanism of action of the HFBF. Through the microarray analysis, it was found that the ITPR2 gene that encodes the inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (IP3) receptor is up-regulated and the HFBF induces cell depolarization by inhibiting the voltage-gated channel expression in NCI-H716 cells. In addition, we found that the intracellular calcium in NCI-H716 cells, with Gallein, U73122, and 2APB as inhibitors, was decreased. These results suggest that the HFBF activates the GLP-1 secretion through the Gβγ pathways in the enteroendocrine L cells after treatment with the HFBF.
PMCID: PMC3943199  PMID: 24688594
7.  Thymoquinone overcomes chemoresistance and enhances the anticancer effects of bortezomib through abrogation of NF-κB regulated gene products in multiple myeloma xenograft mouse model 
Oncotarget  2013;5(3):634-648.
Multiple myeloma (MM) is a B cell malignancy characterized by clonal proliferation of plasma cells in the bone marrow. With the advent of novel targeted agents, the median survival rate has increased to 5−7 years. However, majority of patients with myeloma suffer relapse or develop chemoresistance to existing therapeutic agents. Thus, there is a need to develop novel alternative therapies for the treatment of MM. Thus in the present study, we investigated whether thymoquinone (TQ), a bioactive constituent of black seed oil, could suppress the proliferation and induce chemosensitization in human myeloma cells and xenograft mouse model. Our results show that TQ inhibited the proliferation of MM cells irrespective of their sensitivity to doxorubicin, melphalan or bortezomib. Interestingly, TQ treatment also resulted in a significant inhibition in the proliferation of CD138+ cells isolated from MM patient samples in a concentration dependent manner. TQ also potentiated the apoptotic effects of bortezomib in various MM cell lines through the activation of caspase-3, resulting in the cleavage of PARP. TQ treatment also inhibited chemotaxis and invasion induced by CXCL12 in MM cells. Furthermore, in a xenograft mouse model, TQ potentiated the antitumor effects of bortezomib (p < 0.05, vehicle versus bortezomib + TQ; p < 0.05, bortezomib versus bortezomib + TQ), and this correlated with modulation of various markers for survival and angiogenesis, such as Ki-67, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), Bcl-2 and p65 expression. Overall, our results demonstrate that TQ can enhance the anticancer activity of bortezomib in vitro and in vivo and may have a substantial potential in the treatment of MM.
PMCID: PMC3996662  PMID: 24504138
Thymoquinone; MM; bortezomib; apoptosis; NF-κB
8.  Anti-inflammatory Effect of Isaria sinclairii Glycosaminoglycan in an Adjuvant-treated Arthritis Rat Model 
Toxicological Research  2013;29(3):195-201.
The anti-inflammatory effects of glycosaminoglycan (GAG) derived from Isaria sinclairii (IS) and of IS extracts were investigated in a complete Freund’s adjuvant (CFA)-treated chronic arthritis rat model. Groups of rats were treated orally with 30 mg/kg one of the following: [1] saline control, extracts of [2] water-IS, [3] methanol-IS, [4] butanol-IS, [5] ethyl acetate-IS, or [6] Indomethacin® as the positive control for a period of two weeks. The anti-paw edema effects of the individual extracts were in the following order: water-IS ex. > methanol ex. > butanol ex. > ethyl acetate ex. The water/methanol extract from I. sinclairii remarkably inhibited UV-mediated upregulation of NF-κB activity in transfected HaCaT cells. GAG as a water-soluble alcohol precipitated fraction also produced a noticeable anti-edema effect. This GAG also inhibited the pro-inflammatory cytokine levels of prostaglandin E2-stimulated lipopolysaccharide in LAW 264.7 cells, cytokine TNF-α production in splenocytes, and atherogenesis cytokine levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) production in HUVEC cells in a dose-dependent manner. In the histological analysis, the LV dorsal root ganglion, including the articular cartilage, and linked to the paw-treated IS GAG, was repaired against CFA-induced cartilage destruction. Combined treatment with Indomethacin® (5 mg/kg) and IS GAG (10 mg/kg) also more effectively inhibited CFA-induced paw edema at 3 hr, 24 hr, and 48 hr to levels comparable to the anti-inflammatory drug, indomethacin. Thus, the IS GAG described here holds great promise as an anti-inflammatory drug in the future.
PMCID: PMC3877999  PMID: 24386520
Isaria sinclairii; Glycosaminoglycan; Inflammation
9.  Inhibition of cyclooxygenase-2-dependent survivin mediates decursin-induced apoptosis in human KBM-5 myeloid leukemia cells 
Cancer letters  2010;298(2):212-221.
We demonstrate that decursin induces apoptosis via regulation of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and survivin in leukemic KBM-5 cells. By activating an apoptotic machinery, decursin is cytotoxic to KBM-5 cells. In this apoptotic process, decursin can activate caspase family members and triggers PARP cleavage. At the same time, the expression of COX-2 and survivin in the cells is downregulated. Furthermore, decursin is in synergy with COX-2 inhibitor, celecoxib or NS398 for the induction of apoptosis. Overall, these results suggest that decursin, via inhibiting COX-2 and survivin, sensitizes human leukemia cells to apoptosis and is a potential chemotherapeutic agent to treat this disease.
PMCID: PMC3689030  PMID: 20673699
Decursin; Apoptosis; COX-2; Survivin; KBM-5
10.  Oral administration of penta-O-galloyl-β-D-glucose suppresses triple-negative breast cancer xenograft growth and metastasis in strong association with JAK1-STAT3 inhibition 
Carcinogenesis  2011;32(6):804-811.
There is an urgent clinical need for chemotherapeutic and chemopreventive drugs for triple-negative breast cancer (TNBCa). Extending on our recent work, we hypothesize that the herbal compound 1,2,3,4,6-penta-O-galloyl-beta-D-glucose (PGG) can inhibit the growth and metastasis of TNBCa xenograft and target Janus-activated kinase (JAK)-signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) 3-signaling axis. Daily oral gavage of 10 mg PGG/kg body wt decreased MDA-MB-231 xenograft weight by 49.3% (P < 0.01) at 40 days postinoculation, whereas weekly intraperitoneal injections of Taxol at the same dosage resulted in a 21.4% reduction (P > 0.1). PGG treatment also decreased the incidence of lung metastasis. Immunohistochemical staining detected decreased Ki-67 (proliferation) index and increased terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase deoxyuridine triphosphate nick end labeling (apoptosis) index in PGG-treated and Taxol-treated xenografts. However, the CD34 (angiogenesis) index was decreased only in PGG-treated xenografts along with decreased phospho-STAT3. In cell culture of MDA-MB-231 cells, PGG decreased pSTAT3 and its downstream target proteins, decreased its upstream kinase pJAK1 and induced the expression of SHP1, a JAK1 upstream tyrosine phosphatase, within as early as 1 h of exposure. The phosphatase inhibitor pervanadate reversed the PGG-induced downregulation of pSTAT3 and caspase activation. Orally administered PGG can inhibit TNBCa growth and metastasis, probably through anti-angiogenesis, antiproliferation and apoptosis induction. Mechanistically, PGG-induced inhibition of JAK1-STAT3 axis may contribute to the observed in vivo efficacy and the effects on the cellular processes.
PMCID: PMC3106430  PMID: 21289371
11.  Plumbagin inhibits invasion and migration of breast and gastric cancer cells by downregulating the expression of chemokine receptor CXCR4 
Molecular Cancer  2011;10:107.
Increasing evidence indicates that the interaction between the CXC chemokine receptor-4 (CXCR4) and its ligand CXCL12 is critical in the process of metastasis that accounts for more than 90% of cancer-related deaths. Thus, novel agents that can downregulate the CXCR4/CXCL12 axis have therapeutic potential in inhibiting cancer metastasis.
In this report, we investigated the potential of an agent, plumbagin (5-hydroxy-2-methyl-1, 4-naphthoquinone), for its ability to modulate CXCR4 expression and function in various tumor cells using Western blot analysis, DNA binding assay, transient transfection, real time PCR analysis, chromatin immunoprecipitation, and cellular migration and invasion assays.
We found that plumbagin downregulated the expression of CXCR4 in breast cancer cells irrespective of their HER2 status. The decrease in CXCR4 expression induced by plumbagin was not cell type-specific as the inhibition also occurred in gastric, lung, renal, oral, and hepatocellular tumor cell lines. Neither proteasome inhibition nor lysosomal stabilization had any effect on plumbagin-induced decrease in CXCR4 expression. Detailed study of the underlying molecular mechanism(s) revealed that the regulation of the downregulation of CXCR4 was at the transcriptional level, as indicated by downregulation of mRNA expression, inhibition of NF-κB activation, and suppression of chromatin immunoprecipitation activity. In addition, using a virtual, predictive, functional proteomics-based tumor pathway platform, we tested the hypothesis that NF-κB inhibition by plumbagin causes the decrease in CXCR4 and other metastatic genes. Suppression of CXCR4 expression by plumbagin was found to correlate with the inhibition of CXCL12-induced migration and invasion of both breast and gastric cancer cells.
Overall, our results indicate, for the first time, that plumbagin is a novel blocker of CXCR4 expression and thus has the potential to suppress metastasis of cancer.
PMCID: PMC3175200  PMID: 21880153
12.  Suppression of STAT3 and HIF-1 Alpha Mediates Anti-Angiogenic Activity of Betulinic Acid in Hypoxic PC-3 Prostate Cancer Cells 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(6):e21492.
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.
Methodology/Principal Findings
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.
PMCID: PMC3123343  PMID: 21731766
13.  Noscapine, a benzylisoquinoline alkaloid, sensitizes leukemic cells to chemotherapeutic agents and cytokines by modulating the NF-κB signaling pathway 
Cancer research  2010;70(8):3259-3268.
Noscapine, a benzylisoquinoline alkaloid derived from opium, was recently reported to exhibit activity against a variety of cancers through a poorly understood mechanism. Because the transcription factor nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-κB) has been linked with inflammation, survival, proliferation, invasion, and angiogenesis in tumors, we hypothesized that noscapine mediates its effects by modulating the NF-κB activation pathway. We found that noscapine potentiates apoptosis induced by cytokines and chemotherapeutic agents in tumor cells. Noscapine alone suppressed proliferation of human leukemia and myeloma cells and downregulated the constitutive expression of cell survival proteins. Noscapine also abrogated the inducible expression of proteins involved in survival, proliferation, invasion, and angiogenesis, all of which are regulated by NF-κB. Noscapine suppressed both inducible and constitutive NF-κB activation in tumor cells through inhibition of IκB kinase (IKK), leading to inhibition of phosphorylation and degradation of IκBα. Noscapine also suppressed phosphorylation and nuclear translocation of p65, leading to inhibition of NF-κB reporter activity induced by various components of the NF-κB activation pathway. Activity of the NF-κB-containing COX-2 promoter was also inhibited by noscapine. Thus, noscapine inhibits the proliferation of leukemia cells and sensitizes them to TNF and chemotherapeutic agents by suppressing the NF-κB signaling pathway.
PMCID: PMC2855771  PMID: 20354190
14.  Down-regulation of phosphoglucomutase 3 mediates sulforaphane-induced cell death in LNCaP prostate cancer cells 
Proteome Science  2010;8:67.
Sulforaphane (SFN) is an isothiocyanate found in cruciferous vegetables that exerts anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and radio-sensitizing activities. Nonetheless, the mechanism responsible for SFN-induced cell death is not fully understood. In the present study, anti-cancer mechanism of SFN was elucidated in LNCaP prostate cancer cells.
SFN exerted cytotoxicity and increased TUNEL positive cells in a concentration-dependent manner in LNCaP cells. Proteomics study revealed that levels of nine proteins including tubulin β-2, phosphoglucomutase-3 (PGM3), melanoma-derived leucine zipper containing extra-nuclear factor, activin A type I receptor precursor, smoothelin-A, KIA0073, hypothetical protein LOC57691 and two unnamed proteins were changed over 8 folds in SFN treated LNCaP cells compared to untreated control. We have further confirmed that SFN reduced PGM3 expression with western blotting and showed that PGM3 siRNA enhanced cytotoxicity demonstrated by cell morphology and TUNEL assays in LNCaP cells.
Taken together, these findings suggest that PGM3 plays a role in mediating SFN-induced cell death in LNCaP cells, and is a potential molecular therapeutic target for prostate cancer.
PMCID: PMC3024296  PMID: 21159204
15.  The rGel/BLyS Fusion Toxin Inhibits Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma Growth In Vitro and In Vivo1 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2010;12(5):366-375.
Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is an aggressive subtype of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and accounts for 30%to 40%of NHL. Molecules targeting nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) are expected to be of therapeutic value in those tumors where NF-κB seems to play a unique survival role such as activated B-cell (ABC)-subtype DLBCL. We previously generated a rGel/BLyS fusion toxin for receptor-mediated delivery of the rGel toxin specifically to malignant B cells. In this study, we examined this fusion toxin for its ability to suppress DLBCL growth in vitro and in vivo. rGel/BLyS was specifically cytotoxic to DLBCL lines expressing all three BLyS receptors and constitutively active NF-κB. Treatment with rGel/BLyS induced down-regulation of the phosphorylation of inhibitory subunit of NF-κB (IκB-α), inhibition of NF-κB DNA-binding activity, and accumulation of IκB-α. In agreement with these results, we additionally found that rGel/BLyS downregulated levels of several NF-κB targets including Bcl-xL, Mcl-1, survivin, and x-chromosome linked inhibitor-of-apoptosis. Treatment also induced up-regulation of Bax and apoptosis through caspase-3 activation and poly ADP-ribose polymerase cleavage. Importantly, rGel/BLyS significantly inhibited tumor growth (P < .05) in a DLBCL xenograft model. Thus, our results indicate that rGel/BLyS is an excellent candidate for the treatment of aggressive NHLs that are both dependent on NF-κB and are resistant to conventional chemotherapeutic regimens.
PMCID: PMC2864474  PMID: 20454508
16.  Reversal of Chemoresistance and Enhancement of Apoptosis by Statins Through Downegulation of the NF-κB pathway 
Biochemical pharmacology  2007;75(4):907-913.
We recently found that simvastatin can modulate the nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) activation pathway, but whether other statins have similar effects to those of simvastatin is unknown. Therefore, we evaluated the effect six different statins on TNF-induced NF-κB activation in human myeloid leukemia cells. We then determined whether the combination of statins and standard chemotherapeutic agents could overcome chemoresistance and augment apoptosis. Of the six statins evaluated, only the natural statins (simvastatin, mevastatin, lovastatin, and pravastatin), not the synthetic statins (fluvastatin and atorvastatin), inhibited TNF-induced NF-κB activation. Simvastatin suppressed the NF-κB activation and potentiated the apoptosis induced by doxorubicin, paclitaxel, and 5-fluorouracil. These results suggest that different statins behave differently from one another and that they may be useful in overcoming chemoresistance.
PMCID: PMC2757941  PMID: 18036510
Simvastatin; nuclear factor-kappaB; chemotherapeutic agents; apoptosis
17.  Guggulsterone Inhibits Tumor Cell Proliferation, Induces S-Phase Arrest, and Promotes Apoptosis Through Activation of c-Jun N-Terminal Kinase, Suppression of Akt pathway, and Downregulation of Antiapoptotic Gene Products 
Biochemical pharmacology  2007;74(1):118-130.
Guggulsterone is a plant polyphenol traditionally used to treat obesity, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, atherosclerosis, and osteoarthritis, possibly through an anti-inflammatory mechanism. Whether this steroid has any role in cancer is not known. In this study, we found that guggulsterone inhibits the proliferation of wide variety of human tumor cell types including leukemia, head and neck carcinoma, multiple myeloma, lung carcinoma, melanoma, breast carcinoma, and ovarian carcinoma. Guggulsterone also inhibited the proliferation of drug-resistant cancer cells (e.g., gleevac-resistant leukemia, dexamethasone-resistant multiple myeloma, and doxorubicin-resistant breast cancer cells). Guggulsterone suppressed the proliferation of cells through inhibition of DNA synthesis, producing cell cycle arrest in S-phase, and this arrest correlated with a decrease in the levels of cyclin D1 and cdc2 and a concomitant increase in the levels of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21 and, p27. Guggulsterone induced apoptosis as indicated by increase in the number of Annexin V- and TUNEL-positive cells, through the down-regulation of anti-apoptototic products. The apoptosis induced by guggulsterone was also indicated by the activation of caspase 8, bid cleavage, cytochrome c release, caspase 9 activation, caspase 3 activation, and PARP cleavage. The apoptotic effects of guggulsterone were preceded by activation of JNK and down-regulation of Akt activity. JNK was needed for guggulsterone-induced apoptosis, inasmuch as inhibition of JNK by pharmacological inhibitors or by genetic deletion of MKK4 (activator of JNK) abolished the activity. Overall, our results indicate that guggulsterone can inhibit cell proliferation and induce apoptosis through the activation of JNK, suppression of Akt, and down-regulation of anti-apoptotic protein expression.
PMCID: PMC2744036  PMID: 17475222
Guggulsterone; JNK; caspase; Akt; apoptosis

Results 1-17 (17)