Abstract Title:

Silibinin-induced mitochondria fission leads to mitophagy, which attenuates silibinin-induced apoptosis in MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells.

Abstract Source:

Arch Biochem Biophys. 2020 Jan 31:108284. Epub 2020 Jan 31. PMID: 32014401

Abstract Author(s):

Lingling Si, Jianing Fu, Weiwei Liu, Toshihiko Hayashi, Kazunori Mizuno, Shunji Hattori, Hitomi Fujisaki, Satoshi Onodera, Takashi Ikejima

Article Affiliation:

Lingling Si


We reported previously that higher doses (150-250 μM) of silibinin enhanced fission and inhibited fusion of mitochondria, accompanying apoptosis of double-positive breast cancer cell line MCF-7 cells and triple-negative breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231 cells. We report here three important questions yet unclarified in the previous study;1) Whether enhanced fission of mitochondria by the treatment of silibinin leads to mitophagy, 2) Whether mitophagy positively contributes to apoptosis and 3) Whether estrogen receptor-positive (ER) MCF-7 cells and estrogen receptor-negative (ER) MDA-MB-231 cells are affected in a different way by silibinin treatment, since silibinin often works through ERs signaling pathway. Mitophagy driven by Pink1/Parkin signaling, plays an important role in eliminating damaged mitochondria. Indeed, increased expression of Pink1 and the recruitment of Parkin andLC3-II to mitochondria by the treatment with silibinin account for silibinin induction of mitophagy. In this study, the effects of mitochondrial division inhibitor 1 (mdivi-1) and small interfering RNA targeting dynamin-related protein 1 (DRP1) were examined to reveal the effect of mitochondrial fission on mitophagy. As expected, mdivi-1 or siRNA targeting DRP1 reversed silibinin-induced mitochondrial fission due to down-regulation in the expression of DRP1. Inhibition of mitochondrial fission by mdivi-1 prevented induction of mitophagy as well as autophagy in both MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells, indicating that silibinin-induced mitochondrial fission leads to mitophagy. Inhibition of mitochondrial fission efficiently prevented silibinin-induced apoptosis in MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells in our previous work, and the second point of the present study, inhibition of mitophagy by Pink1 or Parkin knockdown increased silibinin-induced apoptosis of these cells, respectively, suggesting that the mitophagy induced by silibinin treatment serves as a cytoprotective effect, resulting in reduction of apoptosis of cancer cells in both cells. In the third point, we studied whether estrogen receptors (ERs) played a role in silibinin-induced mitophagy and apoptosis in MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells. ERα and ERβ are not involved in silibinin-induced mitophagic process in MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells. These findings demonstrated that silibinin induced mitochondria fission leads to mitophagy, which attenuates silibinin-induced apoptosis not through ERs-Pink1 or -Parkin pathway in MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231.

Study Type : In Vitro Study

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