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Pharmazie. 2007 May;62(5):392-5.

Brassinolide, a plant sterol from pollen of Brassica napus L., induces apoptosis in human prostate cancer PC-3 cells.

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Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China.


Brassinolide is a plant sterol first isolated from pollen of rape (Brassica napus L.). The present study was carried out to investigate the effect of brassinolide on androgen-independent human prostate cancer PC-3 cell viability. Results showed that brassinolide could induce a time and concentration-dependent cytotoxicity in PC-3 cells. The mode of cell death appeared to be predominately apoptosis, as shown by flow-cytometric analysis, fluorescence and transmission electron microscopes. Caspase-3 activity was obviously increased after brassinolide treatment. Western blot studies indicated that treatment with brassinolide triggered a time-dependent decrease in the expression of anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2. We suggest that brassinolide could induce cytotoxicity in PC-3 cells by triggering apoptosis. Brassinolide might therefore be a promising candidate for the treatment of prostate cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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