Harmine induces apoptosis and inhibits tumor cell proliferation, migration and invasion through down-regulation of cyclooxygenase-2 expression in gastric cancer.
Phytomedicine. 2014 Feb 15 ;21(3):348-55. Epub 2013 Oct 28. PMID: 24176842
Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) plays an important role in the carcinogenesis and progression of gastric cancer. Harmine is reported as a promising drug candidate for cancer therapy; however, effects and action mechanism of harmine on the human gastric cancer cells remain unclear. This study evaluated the anti-tumor effects of harmine on human gastric cancer both in vitro and in vivo. The cell proliferation was determined using MTT colorimetric assay. Apoptosis was measured by DAPI staining and flow cytometry analysis. The wound healing and transwell invasion assays were performed to evaluate the effects of harmine on the migration and invasion of gastric cancer cells. The expression of COX-2, proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), Bcl-2, Bax and matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) was detected by Western blot analysis. Our results showed that harmine significantly inhibited cellular proliferation, migration, invasion and induced apoptosis in vitro, as well as inhibited tumor growth in vivo. In addition, harmine significantly inhibited the expression of COX-2, PCNA, Bcl-2 and MMP-2 as well as increased Bax expression in gastric cancer cells. These results collectively indicate that harmine induces apoptosis and inhibits proliferation, migration and invasion of human gastric cancer cells, which may be mediated by down-regulation of COX-2 expression.