KG-135 inhibits COX-2 expression by blocking the activation of JNK and AP-1 in phorbol ester-stimulated human breast epithelial cells

Sin-Aye Park, Eun-Hee Kim, Hye-Kyung Na, Young-Joon Surh
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 2007, 1095: 545-53
Ginsenosides, ingredients of ginseng, have a wide array of pharmacologic effects. Especially, ginsenosides Rk1, Rg3, and Rg5 derived from heat-processed ginseng have been shown to possess substantial anti-tumor-promoting effects. KG-135 is a formulated complex that contains several antitumorigenic ginsenosides, such as Rk1, Rg3, Rg5, Rk2, Rk3, Rs3, Rs4, Rs5, Rs6, Rs7, etc. The present article was aimed at evaluating the chemopreventive as well as anti-inflammatory effects of KG-135 in the human breast epithelial cell line (MCF-10A). One of the well-recognized molecular targets for chemoprevention is cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) that is abnormally upregulated in many premalignant and malignant tissues and cells. In this study, we found that KG-135 inhibited COX-2 expression in MCF-10A cells stimulated with a prototype tumor promotor 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA). Since the transcription factor activator protein-1 (AP-1) plays a role in tumor promotion and is also known to regulate COX-2 induction, we attempted to determine the effect of KG-135 on TPA-induced activation of AP-1. Cotreatment with KG-135 resulted in a decrease in TPA-induced DNA binding of AP-1. In addition, KG-135 inhibited TPA-induced phosphorylation of c-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNK) that regulates COX-2 expression in MCF-10A cells. The JNK inhibitor SP600125 attenuated COX-2 expression in TPA-treated MCF-10A cells. Taken together, the above findings suggest that KG-135 inhibits TPA-induced COX-2 expression in MCF-10A cells by blocking the JNK/AP-1 signaling pathway.

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