Abstract Title:

Ursolic acid augments the chemosensitivity of drug-resistant breast cancer cells to doxorubicin by AMPK-mediated mitochondrial dysfunction.

Abstract Source:

Biochem Pharmacol. 2022 Oct 1 ;205:115278. Epub 2022 Oct 1. PMID: 36191625

Abstract Author(s):

Fazhen Luo, Juanjuan Zhao, Shuo Liu, Yuanfei Xue, Dongyun Tang, Jun Yang, Ye Mei, Guowen Li, Yan Xie

Article Affiliation:

Fazhen Luo


Multidrug resistance remains the major obstacle to successful therapy for breast carcinoma. Ursolic acid (UA), a triterpenoid compound, has been regarded as a potential neoplasm chemopreventive drug in some preclinical studies since it exerts multiple biological activities. In this research, we investigated the role of UA in augmenting the chemosensitivity of drug-resistant breast carcinoma cells to doxorubicin (DOX), and we further explored the possible molecular mechanisms. Notably, we found that UA treatment led to inhibition of cellular proliferation and migration and cell cycle arrest in DOX-resistant breast cancers. Furthermore, combination treatment with UA and DOX showed a stronger inhibitory effect on cell viability, colony formation, and cell migration; induced more cell apoptosis in vitro; and generated a more potent inhibitory effect on the growth of the MCF-7/ADR xenograft tumor model than DOX alone. Mechanistically, UA effectively increased p-AMPK levels and concomitantly reduced p-mTOR and PGC-1α protein levels, resulting in impaired mitochondrial function, such as mitochondrial respiration inhibition, ATP depletion, and excessive reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation. In addition, UA induced a DNA damage response by increasing intracellular ROS production, thus causing cell cycle arrest at the G0/G1 phase. UA also suppressed aerobic glycolysis by prohibiting the expression and function of Glut1. Considered together, our data demonstrated that UA potentiated the susceptibility of DOX-resistant breast carcinoma cells to DOX by targeting energy metabolism through the AMPK/mTOR/PGC-1α signaling pathway, and it is a potential adjuvant chemotherapeutic candidate in MDR breast cancer.

Study Type : In Vitro Study

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