24-hydroxyursolic acid from the leaves of the Diospyros kaki (Persimmon) induces apoptosis by activation of AMP-activated protein kinase.
Planta Med. 2009 Dec 3. Epub 2009 Dec 3. PMID: 19960411
There are multiple lines of evidence that persimmon extract and its constituents have potent antitumor activity against human cancer cells. However, the molecular mechanisms of 24-hydroxyursolic acid, a triterpenoid found in persimmon, on antitumor activities are not yet understood. Here, we demonstrate that 24-hydroxyursolic acid inhibited cell proliferation, strongly activated AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and mediated critical anticancer effects by inhibition of cyclooxygenase (COX-2) expression in HT-29 cells. In addition, 24-hydroxyursolic acid induced cellular apoptosis by activation of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP), caspase-3, and phosphorylation of p53 at Ser15. It also strongly induced DNA fragmentation in HT-29 cells and thereby significantly inhibited colony formation of HT-29 cells in soft agar. In addition, 24-hydroxyursolic acid blocked the EGF-induced ERKs phosphorylation and led to the inhibition of AP-1 activity and cell transformation in JB6 CL41 cells. Collectively, these findings are the first to reveal a molecular basis for the anticarcinogenic action of 24-hydroxyursolic acid and might account for the reported chemopreventive and chemotherapic effects of persimmon extracts.