Berberine reverses epithelial-mesenchymal transition and modulates histone methylation in osteosarcoma cells.
Mol Biol Rep. 2020 Oct 19. Epub 2020 Oct 19. PMID: 33074411
Osteosarcoma is the most frequently occurring cancer in children as well as young adolescents and the metastatic forms worsen this condition to a further great extent. The metastatic dissemination of cancer cells is often acquired through a process of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Since, phytochemicals have attracted intense interest in recent years due to their diverse pharmacological effects, in the present study, we investigated if berberine, a naturally occurring isoquinoline quaternary alkaloid, could modulate the EMT in osteosarcoma cells. Our experimental studies showed that berberine reduced cell viability, colony formation, wound healing ability and migration of osteosarcoma cells. Also, berberine significantly reduced the expression of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2, suggesting its inhibitory action on the matrix metalloproteinases that are required for cancer cell invasion. The significant reduction in the expression of vimentin, N-cadherin, fibronectin and increased expression of E-cadherin further suggested its role in the inhibition of EMT in osteosarcoma cells. The downregulation of H3K27me3, as well as the decreased expression of the histone methyl transferase enzyme EZH2, further substantiated the fact that the plant alkaloid can be used as an epigenetic modulator in the treatment of osteosarcoma. In conclusion, our findings suggest that berberine inhibits proliferation and migration of osteosarcoma cells and most importantly reverses EMT along with modulation of key epigenetic regulators.