Oridonin inhibits the proliferation of human colon cancer cells by upregulating BMP7 to activate p38 MAPK.
Oncol Rep. 2016 May ;35(5):2691-8. Epub 2016 Mar 7. PMID: 26986967
Oridonin (ORI), a diterpenoid purified from Rabdosia rubescens, has been reported as a promising chemotherapy drug for colon cancer treatment; yet, the precise mechanisms underlying this anticancer activity remain unclear. In the present study, we investigated the anticancer effect of ORI in HCT116 cells, and dissected the possible molecular mechanisms underlying this activity. With crystal violet staining, flow cytometry and western blot assay, we found that ORI effectively inhibited the proliferation and induced the apoptosis of HCT116 cells. Further analysis of the results indicated that BMP7 was greatly upregulated by ORI in the HCT116 cells, but its endogenous expression in FHC cells was apparently lower than that in the colon cancer cell lines. Exogenous expression of BMP7 inhibited the proliferation of the HCT116 cells, and substantially potentiated the anticancer effect of ORI. However, the specific antibody of BMP7 nearly abolished this anticancer activity of ORI in the HCT116 cells. Meanwhile, ORI exerted no significant effect on the level of phosphorylated Smad1/5/8 or total p38 MAPK, but greatly increased the level of phosphorylated p38 MAPK in the HCT116 cells. A p38 MAPK-specific inhibitor partly reversed the antiproliferative effect of BMP7 in the HCT116 cells, but prominently promoted the effect of the BMP7 antibody on proliferation. Exogenous expression of BMP7 increased the ORI-induced phosphorylation of p38 MAPK, while the BMP7 antibody almost abolished the ORI-elevated p38 MAPK phosphorylation. Our findings suggest that ORI may be an efficacious drug for colon cancer treatment. This anticancer activity of ORI may be mediated by upregulating BMP7 at least to increase the activation of p38 MAPK.