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Exp Mol Pathol. 2019 Apr;107:23-31. doi: 10.1016/j.yexmp.2019.01.008. Epub 2019 Jan 23.

Triptolide inhibits the growth and migration of colon carcinoma cells by down-regulation of miR-191.

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Department of Anorectal Surgery, Jining No.1 People's Hospital, Jining 272011, China; Affiliated Jining No.1 People's Hospital of Jining Medical University, Jining Medical University, Jining 272067, China.
Department of Anorectal Surgery, Jining No.1 People's Hospital, Jining 272011, China. Electronic address:



Triptolide (TPL) is the active component of Tripterygium wifordii Hook F, which has been reported to exert anti-tumor efficacies. Herein, we aimed to examine the efficacy of TPL in colorectal cancer (CRC) cells and to reveal its underlying mechanisms.


Human CRC cell lines HT-29 and SW480 were treated by TPL for 24 h in the presence or absence of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) inducer TGF-β1. The expression of miR-191 in cell was overexpressed by miRNA transfection. Thereafter, cell viability, migration, apoptosis, EMT-related protein expressions, and the activation of NF-κB and Wnt/β-catenin pathways were respectively assessed. Moreover, a mouse model of CRC was established and the effects of TPL on the growth of primary tumors were tested.


TPL (50 and 100 nM) significantly reduced cell viability and migration, but increased apoptotic cell rate. TPL up-regulated Bax, increased the cleavage of caspase-3 and -9, and neutralized TGF-β1-induced alterations of EMT indicators, including E-cadherin, N-cadherin, Vimentin, and Snail. At the meantime, TPL treatment down-regulated miR-191 expression, and the effect of TPL on miR-191 expression was mediated by EZH2. More interestingly, anti-CRC properties and the inhibitory effects of TPL on NF-κB and Wnt/β-catenin pathways were reversed by miR-191 up-regulation. In vivo data showed that, TPL treatment decreased the growth of primary tumor xenografts and the expression of miR-191.


TPL is effective in killing CRC cells and suppressing the migratory capacity. TPL exerts anti-CRC properties possibly via down-regulating miR-191, and blocking the activation of NF-κB and Wnt/β-catenin pathways.


Colorectal cancer (CRC); HT-29 cell; NF-κB and Wnt/β-catenin pathways; SW480 cell; Triptolide (TPL); miR-191

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