Guggulsterone sensitized drug-resistant human hepatocarcinoma cells to doxorubicin through a Cox-2/P-gp dependent pathway

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Abstract

Previous researches indicated that cyclooxygenase-2 (Cox-2) might be involved in P-glycoprotein (P-gp)-mediated multidrug resistance in hepatocellular carcinoma cells. Doxorubicin-resistant hepatocellular carcinoma PLC/PRF/5 cells (PLC/PRF/5R) and HepG2 (HepG2R) cells were developed in the present study. The modulatory effect of guggulsterone on Cox-2 and P-gp in PLC/PRF/5R and HepG2R cells was investigated. Cells proliferation, Cox-2 and P-gp expression, and prostaglandin E2 release were examined using MTT, flow cytometry, western blot and ELISA assays. Small interfering RNA (siRNA) targeted against Cox-2 and multidrug resistance protein (Mdr-1) was used to regulate the expression of Cox-2 and P-gp. The results showed that co-administration of guggulsterone resulted in a significant increase in chemo-sensitivity of PLC/PRF/5R cells to doxorubicin, as compared with doxorubicin treatment alone. When doxorubicin (10 μM) was combined with guggulsterone (50 μM), the mean apoptotic population of PLC/PRF/5R cells was 20.16%. It was increased by 1.5 times, as compared with doxorubicin (10 μM) treatment alone. Furthermore, guggulsterone had significantly inhibitory effect on the levels of Cox-2, P-gp and prostaglandin E2. However, guggulsterone did not show significantly inhibitory effect on the expression of prostaglandin E receptors. In addition, Cox-2 siRNA simultaneously reduced the expression of Cox-2 and P-gp in PLC/PRF/5R cells. Mdr-1 siRNA had no influence on Cox-2, but inhibited P-gp expression. The present study suggested that guggulsterone might enhance the cytotoxic effect of doxorubicin to PLC/PRF/5R cells through a Cox-2/P-gp dependent pathway.

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