Author(s): Harmand PO, Duval R, Delage C, Simon A
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Abstract Over the coming years, skin cancer could become a significant public health problem. Previous results indicate that ursolic acid (UA), a pentacyclic triterpene acid, has pleiotropic biologic activities such as antiinflammatory and antiproliferative activities on cancer cells. As UA represents a promising chemical entity for the protection of human skin, in agreement with tests done by the cosmetic industry, we investigated its effects on the M4Beu human melanoma cell line. In this report, we demonstrated for the first time that UA had a significant antiproliferative effect on M4Beu, associated with the induction of an apoptotic process, characterized by caspase-3 activation, the downstream central effector of apoptosis. We demonstrated that UA-induced apoptosis was dependent on the mitochondrial intrinsic pathway, as shown by transmembrane potential collapse (DeltaPsim) and by alteration of the Bax-Bcl-2 balance, with a concomitant increase in Bax expression and decrease in Bcl-2 expression. We also showed that UA-induced DeltaPsim was associated with apoptosis-inducing factor leakage from mitochondria. Taken together, our results suggest that UA-induced apoptosis on M4Beu cells is accomplished via triggering of mitochondrial pathway. In conclusion, UA could be an encouraging compound in the treatment or prevention of skin cancer and may represent a new promising anticancer agent in the treatment of melanoma.
This article was published in Int J Cancer
and referenced in Medicinal Chemistry