Berberine inhibits human neuroblastoma cell growth through induction of p53-dependent apoptosis.
Anticancer Res. 2008 Nov-Dec;28(6A):3777-84. PMID: 19189664
Berberine, an alkaloid, has anti-tumor properties in some cancer cells, but action mechanisms are not clear yet. We here investigated the anticancer activity of berberine and possible mechanisms in human neuroblastoma SK-N-SH and SK-N-MC cells. The p53-expressing cells, SK-N-SH (IC50=37 microM) were more susceptible to berberine than the p53-deficient cells, SK-N-MC (IC50>or =100 microM) without cytotoxic effect on the cortical neuronal cells. Berberine caused cell cycle arrest in G0/G1 phase and apoptotic cell death, and these effects were much greater in SK-N-SH cells than those in SK-N-MC cells. Berberine much greatly decreased G0/G1 phase-associated cyclin and cyclin-dependent kinase (cyclin D1, cyclin E, Cdk2, and Cdk4) expression, and increased apoptotic gene expression and activation of caspase-3 in SK-N-SH cells. Exploration of p53 siRNA or pifithrin-alpha (PFT-alpha), a p53 inhibitor, in the SK-N-SH cells resulted in increase of IC50 values for cell viability, and decreased apoptotic cell death, expression of p53 and activation of caspase-3. Therefore, these results showed that berberine causes p53-dependent apoptotic death of neuroblastoma cells, and suggested that berberine may be useful as an anticancer agent for neuroblastoma.