Honokiol causes the p21WAF1-mediated G(1)-phase arrest of the cell cycle through inducing p38 mitogen activated protein kinase in vascular smooth muscle cells.
Biochem Pharmacol. 2010 Apr 1;79(7):955-66. Epub 2009 Nov 13. PMID: 16962592
Honokiol, an active component in extracts of Magnolia officinalis, has been proposed to play a role in anti-inflammatory, antioxidant activity, anti-angiogenic and anti-tumor activity. Although honokiol has a variety of pharmacological effects on certain cell types, its effects on vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) are unclear. This issue was investigated in the present study, honokiol was found to inhibit cell viability and DNA synthesis in cultured VSMC. These inhibitory effects were associated with G1 cell cycle arrest. Treatment with honokiol blocks the cell cycle in the G1 phase, down-regulates the expression of cyclins and CDKs and up-regulates the expression of p21WAF1, a CDK inhibitor. While honokiol did not up-regulate p27, it caused an increase in the promoter activity of the p21WAF1 gene. Immunoblot and deletion analysis of the p21WAF1 promoter showed that honokiol induced the expression of p21WAF1 and that this expression was independent of the p53 pathway. Furthermore, the honokiol-mediated signaling pathway involved in VSMC growth inhibition was examined. Among the relevant pathways, honokiol induced a marked activation of p38 MAP kinase and JNK. The expression of dominant negative p38 MAP kinase and SB203580, a p38 MAP kinase specific inhibitor, blocked the expression of honokiol-dependent p38 MAP kinase and p21WAF1. Consistently, blockade of p38 MAPK kinase function reversed honokiol-induced VSMC proliferation and cell cycle proteins. These data demonstrate that the p38 MAP kinase pathway participates in p21WAF1 induction, subsequently leading to a decrease in the levels of cyclin D1/CDK4 and cyclin E/CDK2 complexes and honokiol-dependent VSMC growth inhibition. In conclusion, these findings concerning the molecular mechanisms of honokiol in VSMC provides a theoretical basis for clinical approaches to the use therapeutic agents in treating atherosclerosis.