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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

Cytokine Research Laboratory, Department of Experimental Therapeutics, Unit 143, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, TX 77030, United States.
Biochemical Pharmacology (Impact Factor: 4.65). 07/2007; 74(1):118-30. DOI: 10.1016/j.bcp.2007.03.026
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT 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 downregulation 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 downregulation 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 downregulation of antiapoptotic protein expression.

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