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Int J Biol Sci 2013; 9(8):766-777. doi:10.7150/ijbs.5711

Research Paper

B19, a Novel Monocarbonyl Analogue of Curcumin, Induces Human Ovarian Cancer Cell Apoptosis via Activation of Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress and the Autophagy Signaling Pathway

Wanglei Qu 1*, Jian Xiao 2*, Hongyu Zhang2*, Qiong Chen 1, Zhouguang Wang 2, Hongxue Shi 2, Liang Gong3, Jianqiang Chen3, Yanlong Liu2, Risheng Cao4, Jieqiang Lv 1✉

1. Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, The Second Affiliated Hospital, Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, China;
2. School of Pharmacy, Key Laboratory of Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Engineering, Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, China;
3. Department of otolaryngology, Cixi Hospital, Wenzhou Medical University, Ningbo, China;
4. Department of Gastroenterology, The First Affiliated Hospital, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China;
* The first three authors contributed equally to this study.


Background: The unfolded protein response, autophagy and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-induced apoptosis regulate tumor cell fate and have become novel signaling targets for the development of cancer therapeutic drugs. Curcumin has been used to treat several different cancers, including ovarian cancer, in clinical trials and research; however, the role of ER stress and autophagy in the therapeutic effects of curcumin and new curcumin analogues remains unclear.

Methods: Cell viability was determined using the MTT assay. Apoptosis was detected using flow cytometry with PI/Annexin V-FITC staining. The expression levels of ER stress- and autophagy-related proteins were analyzed by western blotting. The activation of autophagy was detected using immunofluorescence staining.

Results: We demonstrated that B19 induced HO8910 cell apoptosis in a dose-responsive manner. We also determined and that this effect was associated with corresponding increases in a series of key components in the UPR and ER stress-mediated apoptosis pathways, followed by caspase 3 cleavage and activation. We also observed that B19 treatment induced autophagy in HO8910 cells. The inhibition of autophagy using 3-methyladenine (3-MA) increased levels of intracellular misfolded proteins, which enhanced ovarian cancer apoptosis.

Conclusions: Our data indicate that ER stress and autophagy may play a role in the apoptosis that is induced by the curcumin analogue B19 in an epithelial ovarian cancer cell line and that autophagy inhibition can increase curcumin analogue-induced apoptosis by inducing severe ER stress.

Keywords: Curcumin analogues, B19, ovarian cancer, apoptosis, ER stress, autophagy.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) License. See for full terms and conditions.
How to cite this article:
Qu W, Xiao J, Zhang H, Chen Q, Wang Z, Shi H, Gong L, Chen J, Liu Y, Cao R, Lv J. B19, a Novel Monocarbonyl Analogue of Curcumin, Induces Human Ovarian Cancer Cell Apoptosis via Activation of Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress and the Autophagy Signaling Pathway. Int J Biol Sci 2013; 9(8):766-777. doi:10.7150/ijbs.5711. Available from