A multiple-targets alkaloid nuciferine overcomes paclitaxel-induced drug resistance in vitro and in vivo.
Phytomedicine. 2020 Sep 10 ;79:153342. Epub 2020 Sep 10. PMID: 32992085
OBJECTIVE: Multidrug resistance (MDR) is the major barrier to the successful treatment of chemotherapy. Compounds from nature products working as MDR sensitizers provided new treatment strategies for chemo-resistant cancers patients.
METHODS: We investigated the reversal effects of nuciferine (NF), an alkaloid from Nelumbo nucifera and Nymphaea caerulea, on the paclitaxel (PTX) resistance ABCB1-overexpressing cancer in vitro and in vivo, and explored the underlying mechanism by evaluating drug sensitivity, cell cycle perturbations, intracellular accumulation, function and protein expression of efflux transporters as well as molecular signaling involved in governing transporters expression and development of MDR in cancer.
RESULTS: NF overcomes the resistance of chemotherapeutic agents included PTX, doxorubicin (DOX), docetaxel, and daunorubicin to HCT-8/T and A549/T cancer cells. Notably, NF suppressed the colony formation of MDR cells in vitro and the tumor growth in A549/T xenograft mice in vivo, which demonstrated a very strong synergetic cytotoxic effect between NF and PTX as combination index (CI) (CI<0.1) indicated. Furthermore, NF increased the intracellular accumulation of P-gp substrates included DOX and Rho123 in the MDR cells and inhibited verapamil-stimulated ATPase activity. Mechanistically, inhibition of PI3K/AKT/ERK pathways by NF suppressed the activation of Nrf2 and HIF-1α, and further reduced the expression of P-gp and BCRP, contributing to the sensitizing effects of NF against MDR in cancer.
CONCLUSION: This novel finding provides a promising treatment strategy for overcoming MDR and improving the efficiency of chemotherapy by using a multiple-targets MDR sensitizer NF.