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Biomed Pharmacother. 2017 Nov;95:429-436. doi: 10.1016/j.biopha.2017.08.104. Epub 2017 Sep 12.

Acetylenic derivative of betulin induces apoptosis in endometrial adenocarcinoma cell line.

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Department of Medicinal Chemistry, Medical University of Bialystok, Mickiewicza 2 D, 15-222 Bialystok, Poland.
Laboratory of Cosmetology, Medical University of Bialystok, Akademicka 3, 15-267 Bialystok, Poland.
Department of Urology, Medical University of Bialystok, M. Skłodowskiej-Curie 24A, 15-276 Bialystok, Poland.
Department of Organic Chemistry, Medical University of Silesia, Jagiellońska 4, 41-200 Sosnowiec, Poland.
Department of Medicinal Chemistry, Medical University of Bialystok, Mickiewicza 2 D, 15-222 Bialystok, Poland. Electronic address:


Since betulin (Bet) and its acetylenic derivative, 28-O-propynoylbetulin (proBet) were shown to induce apoptosis in several cancer cell lines, we studied the mechanism of this process in human endometrial adenocarcinoma cells (EA). Previous studies suggested that this group of compounds affect prolidase activity (proline releasing enzyme from imidodipeptides) and collagen biosynthesis (proline utilizing process) providing substrate (proline) for proline oxidase (POX) dependent apoptosis. Here we provide evidence that Bet and proBet exhibit prolidase-inducing activity in EA cell line. However, in contrast to Bet, proBet inhibited collagen biosynthesis, increased intracellular proline concentration and induced apoptosis in EA cells, as detected by caspase-3, and -9 expressions and annexin V staining. Although POX expression was not affected by both compounds, the process of apoptosis was accompanied by increase in cytoplasmic level of proline. The mechanism for proBet-induced prolidase activity was found at the level of β1 integrin signaling. The inhibition of collagen biosynthesis was due to up-regulation of NF-κB p65, an inhibitor of collagen type I gene transcription. Although Bet and proBet induced expression of pro-apoptotic p53 in EA cells, the effect of proBet on the processes was much stronger. In contrast to proBet, Bet strongly induced expression of pro-survival factors, HIF-1α and VEGF. The data suggest that massive production of proline by proBet-dependent activation of prolidase and inhibition of proline utilization for collagen biosynthesis may represent mechanism for POX-dependent apoptosis in EA cells.


28-O-propynoylbetulin; Apoptosis; Betulin; Collagen biosynthesis; Prolidase; Proline oxidase

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