Suppression of constitutive and tumor necrosis factor alpha-induced nuclear factor (NF)-kappaB activation and induction of apoptosis by apigenin in human prostate carcinoma PC-3 cells: correlation with down-regulation of NF-kappaB-responsive genes

Sanjeev Shukla, Sanjay Gupta
Clinical Cancer Research 2004 May 1, 10 (9): 3169-78

PURPOSE: Development of androgen independence and resistance to apoptosis in prostate cancer are often correlated with high levels of serum tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha in these patients. The loss of sensitivity to TNF-alpha-induced apoptosis in androgen-insensitive prostate carcinoma cells is due in part to constitutive activation of Rel/nuclear factor (NF)-kappaB transcription factors that regulate several cell survival and antiapoptotic genes. Our previous studies have demonstrated growth inhibitory and apoptotic effects of apigenin, a common plant flavonoid, in a variety of human prostate carcinoma cells. Here we examined whether apigenin is effective in inhibiting NF-kappaB expression in androgen-insensitive human prostate carcinoma cells exhibiting high constitutive levels of NF-kappaB.

EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Using androgen-insensitive human prostate carcinoma PC-3 cells, the effect of apigenin was assessed on NF-kappaB activation by electrophoretic mobility shift assay and reporter gene assay. Expression of NF-kappaB subunits p65 and p50, IkappaBalpha, p-IkappaBalpha, in-beads kinase assay and NF-kappaB-regulated genes were determined by Western blot analysis. Apoptosis was determined by annexin V/propidium iodide staining after fluorescence-activated cell-sorting analysis.

RESULTS: Treatment of cells with 10-40- micro M doses of apigenin inhibited DNA binding and reduced nuclear levels of the p65 and p50 subunits of NF-kappaB. Apigenin inhibited IkappaBalpha degradation and IkappaBalpha phosphorylation and significantly decreased IKKalpha kinase activity. Apigenin also inhibited TNF-alpha-induced activation of NF-kappaB via the IkappaBalpha pathway, thereby sensitizing the cells to TNF-alpha-induced apoptosis. The inhibition of NF-kappaB activation correlated with a decreased expression of NF-kappaB-dependent reporter gene and suppressed expression of NF-kappaB-regulated genes [specifically, Bcl2, cyclin D1, cyclooxygenase-2, matrix metalloproteinase 9, nitric oxide synthase-2 (NOS-2), and vascular endothelial growth factor].

CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that inhibition of NF-kappaB by apigenin may lead to prostate cancer suppression by transcriptional repression of NF-kappaB-responsive genes as well as selective sensitization of prostate carcinoma cells to TNF-alpha-induced apoptosis.

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