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Biochem Pharmacol. 2004 Sep 15;68(6):1081-7.

Eupatilin, a pharmacologically active flavone derived from Artemisia plants, induces cell cycle arrest in ras-transformed human mammary epithelial cells.

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  • 1Laboratory of Biochemistry and Molecular Toxicology, College of Pharmacy, Seoul National University, Shinlim-dong, Kwanak-ku, 151-742, South Korea.


Extracts of Artemisia asiatica Nakai (Asteraceae) possess anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative activities. Eupatilin (5,7-dihydroxy-3',4',6-trimethoxyflavone), one of the pharmacologically active ingredients derived from A. asiatica, was shown to induce apoptosis in human promyelocytic leukemia (HL-60) cells [Mutat Res 496 (2001) 191]. In the present study, we examined the cytostatic effects of eupatilin in H-ras-transformed human breast epithelial (MCF10A-ras) cells. Eupatilin inhibited the growth of MCF10A-ras cells in a concentration-dependent and time-related manner. To explore whether the anti-proliferative effects of eupatilin could be mediated through modulation of the cell cycle in MCF10A-ras, DNA contents were analyzed by the flow cytometry. Eupatilin inhibited the expression of cyclin D1, cyclin B1, Cdk2 and Cdc2 that are key regulators of the cell cycle. In addition, eupatilin treatment led to elevated expression of p53 and p27Kip1 that act as Cdk inhibitors. It has been known that the Ras-signaling pathway plays integral roles in the induction of cyclin D1. Eupatilin inhibited the activation of ERK1/2 as well as expression of Raf-1 and Ras in MCF10A-ras cells. Thus, the inhibitory effect of eupatilin on cyclin D1 expression appears to be mediated by targeting the Raf/MEK/ERK signaling cascades. Eupatilin did not change activation of Akt, an important component of cell-survival pathways. In conclusion, the anti-proliferative effect of eupatilin in MCF10A-ras cells is associated with its blockade of cell cycle progression which appears to be attributable in part to inhibition of ERK1/2 activation.

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