Document Type

Journal Article

Department/Unit

School of Chinese Medicine

Title

Astragalus saponins downregulate vascular endothelial growth factor under cobalt chloride-stimulated hypoxia in colon cancer cells

Language

English

Abstract

Background: Our ongoing research has revealed that total saponins extracted from the medicinal herb Radix Astragali (AST) exhibits significant growth-inhibitory and proapoptotic effects in human cancer cells. In the present study, the potential of AST in controlling angiogenesis was further investigated with elaboration of the underlying molecular mechanism in human colon cancer cell and tumor xenograft.Results: AST decreased the protein level of VEGF and bFGF in HCT 116 colon cancer cells in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Among the Akt/mTOR signal transduction molecules being examined, AST caused PTEN upregulation, reduction in Akt phosphorylation and subsequent activation of mTOR. AST also suppressed the induction of HIF-1α and VEGF under CoCl2-mimicked hypoxia. These effects were intensified by combined treatment of AST with the mTOR inhibitor rapamycin. Despite this, our data also indicate that AST could attenuate cobalt chloride-evoked COX-2 activation, while such effect on COX-2 and its downstream target VEGF was intensified when indomethacin was concurrently treated. The anti-carcinogenic action of AST was further illustrated in HCT 116 xenografted athymic nude mice. AST significantly suppressed tumor growth and reduced serum VEGF level in vivo. In the tumor tissues excised from AST-treated animals, protein level of p-Akt, p-mTOR, VEGF, VEGFR1 and VEGFR2 was down-regulated. Immunohistochemistry has also revealed that AST effectively reduced the level of COX-2 in tumor sections when compared with that in untreated control.Conclusion: Taken together, these findings suggest that AST exerts anti-carcinogenic activity in colon cancer cells through modulation of mTOR signaling and downregulation of COX-2, which together reduce VEGF level in tumor cells that could potentially suppress angiogenesis. © 2012 Law et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Keywords

Akt/mTOR, Astragalus saponins, Colon cancer, COX-2, Hypoxia, VEGF

Publication Date

2012

Source Publication Title

BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Volume

12

Issue

160

Publisher

BioMed Central

DOI

10.1186/1472-6882-12-160

Link to Publisher's Edition

http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1472-6882-12-160

ISSN (print)

14726882

ISSN (electronic)

14726882

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