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Curcumin Inhibits the PPARδ-p-Akt-GLUT1 Pathway and Ameliorates the Antiproliferative Effects of Doxorubicin in MDA-MB-231 Cells.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of the present study was to examine whether GLUT1 was involved in the antiproliferative activity of curcumin and doxorubicin by understanding mechanistically how curcumin regulated GLUT1.

METHODS: Expression level of GLUT1 in MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells were quantitated using quantitative real-time PCR and western blot. GLUT1 activity was inhibited in MDA-MB-231 cells with the pharmacological inhibitor WZB117 to assess the anti-proliferative effects of doxorubicin using MTT 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide).  To examine cell proliferation, trypan blue assay was used in cells transfected with GLUT1 siRNA or plasmid overexpressing GLUT1 with doxorubicin and/or commercially available curcumin. The role of PPARδ and Akt on the regulation of GLUT1 by curcumin was examined by overexpressing these proteins and western blot was employed to examine their protein expression.

RESULTS: The data revealed that there was a 1.5 fold increase in GLUT1 mRNA and protein levels in MDA-MB-231 compared to MCF-7.  By inhibiting GLUT1 in triple negative breast cancer cell line, MDA-MB-231 with either the pharmacological inhibitor WZB117 or with GLUT1 siRNA, we observed the enhanced antiproliferative effects of doxorubicin. Additional observations indicated these effects can be reversed by the overexpression of GLUT1. Treatment of MDA-MB-231 with curcumin also revealed downregulation of GLUT1, with further growth suppressive effects when combined with doxorubicin.  Overexpression of GLUT1 blocked the growth suppressive role of curcumin and doxorubicin (p< 0.05). Mechanistically, we also observed that the regulation of GLUT1 by curcumin was mediated by the Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) δ/Akt pathway.

CONCLUSION: Our study demonstrates that regulation of GLUT1 by curcumin via the PPARδ/Akt signaling improves the efficacy of doxorubicin by promoting its growth inhibitory effects in MDA-MB-231 cells.

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