Suppression of NF-κB and NF-κB-Regulated Gene Expression by Apigenin through IκBα and IKK Pathway in TRAMP Mice

Sanjeev Shukla, Eswar Shankar, Pingfu Fu, Gregory T MacLennan, Sanjay Gupta
PloS One 2015, 10 (9): e0138710
Aberrant Nuclear Factor-κappaB (NF-κB) activation due to rapid IκBα turnover and high basal IκBα kinase (IKK) activity has been frequently observed in prostate cancer. Apigenin, a naturally occurring plant flavone, exhibits anti-proliferative, anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic activities by inhibiting NF-κB pathway, through a mechanism not fully understood. We found that apigenin feeding in microgram doses (bioavailable in humans) inhibited prostate tumorigenesis in TRAMP mice by interfering with NF-κB signaling. Apigenin feeding to TRAMP mice (20 and 50 μg/mouse/day, 6 days/week for 20 weeks) exhibited significant decrease in tumor volumes of the prostate and completely abolished metastasis, which correlated with inhibition of NF-κB activation and binding to the DNA. Apigenin intake blocked phosphorylation and degradation of IκBα by inhibiting IKK activation, which in turn led to suppression of NF-κB activation. The expression of NF-κB-regulated gene products involved in proliferation (cyclin D1, and COX-2), anti-apoptosis (Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL), and angiogenesis (vascular endothelial growth factor) were also downregulated after apigenin feeding. These events correlated with the induction of apoptosis in tumor cells, as evident by increased cleaved caspase-3 labeling index in the dorsolateral prostate. Our results provide convincing evidence that apigenin inhibits IKK activation and restores the expression of IκBα, preventing it's phosphorylation in a fashion similar to that elicited by IKK and proteasomal inhibitors through suppression of NF-κB signaling pathway.

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