Antitumor activity of celastrol by inhibition of proliferation, invasion, and migration in cholangiocarcinoma via PTEN/PI3K/Akt pathway.
Cancer Med. 2020 Jan ;9(2):783-796. Epub 2019 Nov 26. PMID: 31957323
AIM: Cholangiocarcinoma is a malignant tumor originating from bile duct epithelium. Currently, the treatment strategy is very limited and the prognosis is poor. Recent studies reported celastrol exhibits antigrowth and antimetastasis properties in many tumors. Our study aimed to assess the anti-CCA effects of cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) and the mechanisms involved in it.
METHODS: In this study, the long-term and short-term antiproliferation effects was determined using colony formation and Cell Counting Kit-8 (CCK-8) assays, respectively. Flow cytometry was performed to quantify apoptosis. Furthermore, wound healing and transwell assays were performed to determine the cell migration and invasion capabilities, respectively. To further find the mechanism involved in the celastrol-induced biological functions, LY204002, a PI3K/Akt signaling inhibitor, and an Akt-1 overexpression plasmid were employed to find whether PI3K/Akt pathway was involved in the celastrol-induced CCA cell inhibition. Additionally, short interfering RNA (siRNA) was also used to investigate the mechanism involved in the celastrol-induced PI3K/Akt signaling inhibition. Western blotting and immunofluorescence assays were also performed to detect the degree of relative proteins. Moreover, we validated the antiproliferation and antimetastasis effects of celastrol in vivo by constructing subcutaneous and lung metastasis nude mice models.
RESULTS: We discovered that celastrol effectively induced apoptotic cell death and inhibited the capacity of migration and invasion in CCA cells. Further mechanistic study identified that celastrol regulated the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway, and the antitumor efficacy was likely due to the upregulation of PTEN, a negative regulator of PI3K/Akt. Blockage of PTEN abolished the celastrol-induced PI3K/Akt signaling inhibition. Additionally, in vivo experiments conformed celastrol inhibited the tumor growth and lung metastasis with no serious side effects.
CONCLUSIONS: Overall, our study elucidated a mechanistic framework for the anti-CCA effects of celastrol via PTEN/PI3K/Akt pathway.