JOURNAL ARTICLE

Plumbagin attenuates cancer cell growth and osteoclast formation in the bone microenvironment of mice

Wei Yan, Ting-yu Wang, Qi-ming Fan, Lin Du, Jia-ke Xu, Zan-jing Zhai, Hao-wei Li, Ting-ting Tang
Acta Pharmacologica Sinica 2014, 35 (1): 124-34
24384612

AIM: To investigate the effects of plumbagin, a naphthoquinone derived from the medicinal plant Plumbago zeylanica, on human breast cancer cell growth and the cancer cell-induced osteolysis in the bone microenvironment of mice.

METHODS: Human breast cancer cell subline MDA-MB-231SA with the ability to spread and grow in the bone was tested. The cell proliferation was determined using the CCK-8 assay. Apoptosis was detected with Annexin V/PI double-labeled flow cytometry. Red fluorescent protein-labeled MDA-MB-231SArfp cells were injected into the right tibia of female BALB/c-nu/nu mice. Three days after the inoculation, the mice were injected with plumbagin (2, 4, or 6 mg/kg, ip) 5 times per week for 7 weeks. The growth of the tumor cells was monitored using an in vivo imaging system. After the mice were sacrificed, the hind limbs were removed for radiographic and histological analyses.

RESULTS: Plumbagin (2.5-20 μmol/L) concentration-dependently inhibited the cell viability and induced apoptosis of MDA-MB-231SA cells in vitro (the IC50 value of inhibition of cell viability was 14.7 μmol/L). Administration of plumbagin to breast cancer bearing mice delayed the tumor growth by 2-3 weeks and reduced the tumor volume by 44%-74%. The in vivo imaging study showed that plumbagin dose-dependently inhibited MDA-MB-231SArfp cell growth in bone microenvironment. Furthermore, X-ray images and micro-CT study demonstrated that plumbagin reduced bone erosion area and prevented a decrease in bone tissue volume. Histological studies showed that plumbagin dose-dependently inhibited the breast cancer cell growth, enhanced the cell apoptosis and reduced the number of TRAcP-positive osteoclasts.

CONCLUSION: Plumbagin inhibits the cell growth and induces apoptosis in human breast cancer cells in mice bone microenvironment, leading to significant reduction in osteolytic lesions caused by the tumor cells.

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