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BMC Gastroenterol. 2012 Jan 23;12:9. doi: 10.1186/1471-230X-12-9.

Luteolin decreases IGF-II production and downregulates insulin-like growth factor-I receptor signaling in HT-29 human colon cancer cells.

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Department of Food Science and Nutrition, Hallym University, Chuncheon 200-702, Korea.



Luteolin is a 3',4',5,7-tetrahydroxyflavone found in various fruits and vegetables. We have shown previously that luteolin reduces HT-29 cell growth by inducing apoptosis and cell cycle arrest. The objective of this study was to examine whether luteolin downregulates the insulin-like growth factor-I receptor (IGF-IR) signaling pathway in HT-29 cells.


In order to assess the effects of luteolin and/or IGF-I on the IGF-IR signaling pathway, cells were cultured with or without 60 μmol/L luteolin and/or 10 nmol/L IGF-I. Cell proliferation, DNA synthesis, and IGF-IR mRNA levels were evaluated by a cell viability assay, [3H]thymidine incorporation assays, and real-time polymerase chain reaction, respectively. Western blot analyses, immunoprecipitation, and in vitro kinase assays were conducted to evaluate the secretion of IGF-II, the protein expression and activation of IGF-IR, and the association of the p85 subunit of phophatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI3K) with IGF-IR, the phosphorylation of Akt and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)1/2, and cell division cycle 25c (CDC25c), and PI3K activity.


Luteolin (0 - 60 μmol/L) dose-dependently reduced the IGF-II secretion of HT-29 cells. IGF-I stimulated HT-29 cell growth but did not abrogate luteolin-induced growth inhibition. Luteolin reduced the levels of the IGF-IR precursor protein and IGF-IR transcripts. Luteolin reduced the IGF-I-induced tyrosine phosphorylation of IGF-IR and the association of p85 with IGF-IR. Additionally, luteolin inhibited the activity of PI3K activity as well as the phosphorylation of Akt, ERK1/2, and CDC25c in the presence and absence of IGF-I stimulation.


The present results demonstrate that luteolin downregulates the activation of the PI3K/Akt and ERK1/2 pathways via a reduction in IGF-IR signaling in HT-29 cells; this may be one of the mechanisms responsible for the observed luteolin-induced apoptosis and cell cycle arrest.

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