Docosahexaenoic acid-acylated phloridzin, a novel polyphenol fatty acid ester derivative, is cytotoxic to breast cancer cells

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Docosahexaenoic acid-acylated phloridzin (PZ-DHA), a novel polyphenol fatty acid ester derivative, was synthesized through a regioselective acylation reaction with the aim of increasing the bioactivity of phloridzin (PZ) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). In this study, PZ-DHA’s cytotoxic activity was explored using in vitro and in vivo models of mammary carcinoma. PZ-DHA was selectively cytotoxic for mammary carcinoma (MDA-MB-231, MDA-MB-468, 4T1, MCF-7 and T-47D) cells compared to non-malignant human mammary epithelial cells (HMEC and MCF-10A) and fibroblasts by MTS assay and Annexin-V-FLUOS/propidium iodide staining. Flow cytometric analysis of Oregon Green 488- and Ki-67-stained MDA-MB-231 cells showed antiproliferative activity of PZ-DHA at a subcytotoxic concentration. PZ-DHA also arrested MDA-MB-231 cell division at the G2/M phase and down-regulated expression of cyclin B1 and cyclin-dependent kinase 1 (CDK1). PZ-DHA-induced apoptosis in MDA-MB-231 cells was confirmed by caspase 3/7 activation in a luminescence assay and DNA fragmentation by TUNEL staining. Moreover, MDA-MB-231 xenograft growth in non-obese diabetic severe combined immunodeficient mice was suppressed by intra-tumoral administration of PZ-DHA. This study shows that PZ-DHA is selectively cytotoxic to breast cancer cells in vitro and in vivo, suggesting that further investigations of PZ-DHA are warranted as a potential treatment for breast cancer.

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