Silibinin-induced endoplasmic reticulum stress and mitochondrial dysfunction suppress growth of endometriotic lesions.
J Cell Physiol. 2019 Apr ;234(4):4327-4341. Epub 2018 Aug 25. PMID: 30144397
Silibinin is a flavonolignan extracted from milk thistle, which has been used for treating liver disorders, various cancers, and gynecological diseases. However, attempts for treating endometriosis with silibinin are lacking. In this study, we observed that silibinin exerts antiproliferative and apoptotic effects on human endometriotic cell lines VK2/E6E7 and End1/E6E7. We also identified that silibinin-induced oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation in human endometriotic cells. Moreover, we observed upregulation of calcium concentration in the cytosol and mitochondrial matrix, which resulted in mitochondrial dysfunction. Furthermore, induction of endoplasmic reticulum stress signals with rapid mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway signaling resulted in apoptosis of both cells. Using an animal model mimicking the retrograde menstruation hypothesis, we verified the effects of silibinin on reducing endometriotic lesions by inhibiting the expression of inflammatory cytokines in mice. Silibinin might be used as a novel therapeutic agent or supplement for inhibiting progression of endometriosis in vitro and in vivo.