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Int J Biol Sci 2016; 12(11):1279-1288. doi:10.7150/ijbs.13453

Research Paper

Blockage of epithelial to mesenchymal transition and upregulation of let 7b are critically involved in ursolic acid induced apoptosis in malignant mesothelioma cell

Eun Jung Sohn*, Gunho Won*, Jihyun Lee, Sang Wook Yoon, Ilho Lee, Hee Jeong Kim, Sung-Hoon Kim

College of Korean Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, 130-701, Republic of Korea
* Equally contributed

Abstract

Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPN), which is caused by asbestos exposure, is one of aggressive lung tumors. In the present study, we elucidated the anti-tumor mechanism of ursolic acid in malignant mesotheliomas. Ursolic acid significantly exerted cytotoxicity in a time and dose dependent manner in H28, H2452 and MSTO-211H mesothelioma cells and inhibited cell proliferation by colony formation assay in a dose-dependent fashion. Also, ursolic acid treatment accumulated the sub-G1 population, attenuated the expression of procapase 9, cyclin D1, pAKT, p-glycogen synthase kinase 3-alpha/beta (pGSK3α/β), β-catenin and nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NFkB) and also cleaved caspase 3 and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) in mesothelioma cells. Furthermore, ursolic acid treatment blocked epithelial and mesenchymal transition (EMT) molecules by activating E-cadherin as an epithelial marker and attenuating Vimentin, and Twist as mesenchymal molecules. Interestingly, miRNA array revealed that 23 miRNAs (>2 folds) including let-7b and miRNA3613-5p, miRNA134 and miRNA196b were significantly upregulated while 33 miRNAs were downregulated in ursolic acid treated H2452 cells. Furthermore, overexpression of let 7b using let-7b mimics enhanced the antitumor effect of ursolic acid to attenuate the expression of procaspases 3, pro-PARP, pAKT, β-catenin and Twist and increase sub-G1 accumulation in H2452 mesothelioma cells. Overall, our findings suggest that ursolic acid induces apoptosis via inhibition of EMT and activation of let7b in mesothelioma cells as a potent chemotherapeutic agent for treatment of malignant mesotheliomas.

Keywords: Ursolic acid, mesothelioma, apoptosis, epithelial and mesenchymal transition, miRNA array, let 7b

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How to cite this article:
Sohn EJ, Won G, Lee J, Yoon SW, Lee I, Kim HJ, Kim SH. Blockage of epithelial to mesenchymal transition and upregulation of let 7b are critically involved in ursolic acid induced apoptosis in malignant mesothelioma cell. Int J Biol Sci 2016; 12(11):1279-1288. doi:10.7150/ijbs.13453. Available from http://www.ijbs.com/v12p1279.htm