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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Cyclooxygenase-2 inhibits novel ginseng metabolite-mediated apoptosis.

Recently, a novel intestinal bacterial metabolite of ginseng protopanaxadiol saponins, i.e., 20-O-(beta-D-glucopyranosyl)-20(S)-protopanaxadiol (IH-901), has been reported to induce apoptosis in a variety of cancer cells. Here we show a differential effect of IH-901 on several cell types. Exposure to IH-901 for 48 hours at a supposedly subapoptotic concentration of 40 mumol/L led to both apoptotic cell death and G1 arrest in Hep3B cells, but only resulted in G1 arrest in MDA-MB-231, Hs578T, and MKN28 cells. Additionally, the treatment of MDA-MB-231, but not of Hep3B, with IH-901 up-regulated cyclooxygenase-2 ( COX-2) mRNA (2 hours) and protein (6 hours), and enhanced the production of prostaglandin E2. In MDA-MB-231 cells, IH-901 induced the sustained activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase ( ERK), whereas inhibition of mitogen-activated protein/ ERK kinase blocked IH-901- mediated COX-2 induction and resulted in apoptosis, suggesting the involvement of an ERK- COX-2 pathway. Combined treatment with IH-901 and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs inhibited COX-2 enzyme and induced apoptosis in MDA-MB-231 and Hs578T cells. Adenovirus-mediated COX-2 small interfering RNAs also effectively inhibited COX-2 protein expression and enhanced IH-901- mediated apoptosis without inhibiting ERK 1/2 phosphorylation, thus providing direct evidence that COX-2 is an antiapoptotic molecule. Moreover, IH-901-mediated G1 arrest resulted from an increase in p27Kip1 mRNA and protein expression followed by a decrease in CDK2 kinase activity that was concurrent with the hypophosphorylation of Rb and p130. In conclusion, IH-901 induced both G1 arrest and apoptosis, and this apoptosis could be inhibited by COX-2 induction.[1]


  1. Cyclooxygenase-2 inhibits novel ginseng metabolite-mediated apoptosis. Yim, H.W., Jong, H.S., Kim, T.Y., Choi, H.H., Kim, S.G., Song, S.H., Kim, J., Ko, S.G., Lee, J.W., Kim, T.Y., Bang, Y.J. Cancer Res. (2005) [Pubmed]
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