Cambogin exerts anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic effects on breast adenocarcinoma through the induction of NADPH oxidase 1 and the alteration of mitochondrial morphology and dynamics

Kaikai Shen, Fangfang Lu, Jianling Xie, Minfeng Wu, Bo Cai, Yurong Liu, Hong Zhang, Hongsheng Tan, Yingyi Pan, Hongxi Xu

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21 Citations (Scopus)


Cambogin, a bioactive polycyclic polyprenylated acylphoroglucinol (PPAP) derived from the Garcinia genus, possesses proapoptotic effect in medulloblastoma and breast cancer cells. We have previously demonstrated that the proapoptotic effect of cambogin is driven by the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Here we have shown that the inhibitory effect of cambogin on cell proliferation is associated with the loss of mitochondrial transmembrane potential (ΔΨm) and mitochondrial fragmentation. Cambogin also promotes the mutual complex formation of the membrane-bound subunit p22phox of NADPH oxidase 1 (NOX1), as well as the phosphorylation of the cytosolic subunit p47phox, subsequently enhancing membranebound NOX1 activity, which leads to increases in intracellular and mitochondrial levels of O2.- and H2O2. Pharmacological inhibition of NOX1 using apocynin (pan-NOX inhibitor), ML171 (NOX1 inhibitor) or siRNA against NOX1 prevents the increases in O2.- and H2O2 levels and the anti-proliferative effect of cambogin. Antioxidants, including SOD (superoxide dismutase), CAT (catalase) and EUK-8, are also able to restore cell viability in the presence of cambogin. Besides, cambogin increases the dissociation of thioredoxin-1 (Trx1) from ASK1, switching the inactive form of ASK1 to the active kinase, subsequently leads to the phosphorylation of JNK/SAPK, which is abolished upon ML171 treatment. The proapoptotic effect of cambogin in breast cancer cells is also aggravated upon knocking down Trx1 in MCF-7 cells. Taken in conjunction, these data indicate that the anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic effect of cambogin is mediated via inducing NOX1-dependent ROS production and the dissociation of ASK1 and Trx1.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50596-50611
Number of pages16
Issue number31
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 2016


  • Breast cancer
  • Cambogin
  • NADPH oxidase 1
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Thioredoxin-1/ASK1 complex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology

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