Tanshinone IIA enhances the effects of TRAIL by downregulating survivin in human ovarian carcinoma cells.
Phytomedicine. 2015 Sep 15 ;22(10):929-38. Epub 2015 Jul 9. PMID: 26321742
BACKGROUND: Tanshinone IIA (TIIA), a diterpene quinone from the medicinal plant Salvia miltiorrhiza Bunge (Lamiaceae) was shown to possess apoptotic and TRAIL-sensitizing effects. Still, the molecular mechanisms whereby TIIA induces apoptosis remain largely unknown.
PURPOSE: The role of survivin, an inhibitor of apoptosis protein, in TIIA-induced apoptosis has never been addressed before and hence was the primary goal of this study.
METHODS: In this study, we explored the anticancer effect of TIIA in TOV-21G, SKOV3, and OVCAR3 ovarian carcinoma cells. Cytotoxicity was determined by MTS assay. Real-time RT-PCR and Western blotting were used to assess the mRNA and protein expression of related signaling proteins.
RESULTS: Our results illustrated that TIIA's cytotoxic effect was caused by apoptosis with the involvement of caspases activity. Moreover, TIIA downregulated survivin in a concentration-dependent manner without affecting the expression of Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, and Bax. TIIA-induced survivin downregulation is regulated by both transcriptional processes and proteasomal degradation. Using TOV-21G cells as our cellular model, we demonstrated that TIIA-induced survivin downregulation requires p38 MAPK activation. Importantly, genetic overexpression of survivin rendered cells more resistant to TIIA, indicating an essential role of survivin downregulation in TIIA-induced apoptosis. This TRAIL sensitization effect of TIIA is ascribed to survivin downregulation because the effect was abrogated in cells that overexpressed survivin.
CONCLUSION: Our findings provide new insights into the action modes of TIIA-mediated anticancer effects and further implicate a rational design for cancer therapeutic regimens by combining TIIA-sensitized TRAIL via downregulating survivin to elicit ovarian cancer cell death.