Bufalin is the primary component of the traditional Chinese herb "Chan Su". Evidence suggests that this compound possesses potent anti-tumor activities, although the exact molecular mechanism(s) is unknown. Our previous study showed that bufalin inhibited growth of human osteosarcoma cell lines U2OS and U2OS/MTX300 in culture. Therefore, this study aims to further clarify the in vitro and in vivo anti-osteosarcoma effects of bufalin and its molecular mechanism of action. We found bufalin inhibited both methotrexate (MTX) sensitive and resistant human osteosarcoma cell growth and induced G2/M arrest and apoptosis. Using a comparative proteomics approach, 24 differentially expressed proteins following bufalin treatment were identified. In particular, the level of an anti-apoptotic protein, heat shock protein 27 (Hsp27), decreased remarkably. The down-regulation of Hsp27 and alterations of its partner signaling molecules (the decrease in p-Akt, nuclear NF-κB p65, and co-immunoprecipitated cytochrome c/Hsp27) were validated. Hsp27 over-expression protected against bufalin-induced apoptosis, reversed the dephosphorylation of Akt and preserved the level of nuclear NF-κB p65 and co-immunoprecipitated Hsp27/cytochrome c. Moreover, bufalin inhibited MTX-resistant osteosarcoma xenograft growth, and a down-regulation of Hsp27 in vivo was observed. Taken together, bufalin exerted potent anti-osteosarcoma effects in vitro and in vivo, even in MTX resistant osteosarcoma cells. The down-regulation of Hsp27 played a critical role in bufalin-induced apoptosis in osteosarcoma cells. Bufalin may have merit to be a potential chemotherapeutic agent for osteosarcoma, particularly in MTX-resistant groups.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)