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J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2019 Jun 7;38(1):242. doi: 10.1186/s13046-019-1255-3.

Houttuynia cordata Thunb. and its bioactive compound 2-undecanone significantly suppress benzo(a)pyrene-induced lung tumorigenesis by activating the Nrf2-HO-1/NQO-1 signaling pathway.

Lou Y1, Guo Z1, Zhu Y1, Kong M1, Zhang R1, Lu L1,2, Wu F3, Liu Z4,5, Wu J6.

Author information

1
Joint Laboratory for Translational Cancer Research of Chinese Medicine of the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China, International Institute for Translational Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, 510006, Guangdong, China.
2
State Key Laboratory of Quality Research in Chinese Medicine, Macau University of Science and Technology, Macau, SAR, China.
3
Hunan Zhengqing Pharmaceutical Group Limited, Huaihua, 418005, China.
4
Joint Laboratory for Translational Cancer Research of Chinese Medicine of the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China, International Institute for Translational Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, 510006, Guangdong, China. liuzq@gzucm.edu.cn.
5
State Key Laboratory of Quality Research in Chinese Medicine, Macau University of Science and Technology, Macau, SAR, China. liuzq@gzucm.edu.cn.
6
Joint Laboratory for Translational Cancer Research of Chinese Medicine of the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China, International Institute for Translational Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, 510006, Guangdong, China. wujinjun@gzucm.edu.cn.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Lung cancer remains the most common cause of cancer-related deaths, with a high incidence and mortality in both sexes worldwide. Chemoprevention has been the most effective strategy for lung cancer prevention. Thus, exploring novel and effective candidate agents with low toxicity for chemoprevention is essential and urgent. Houttuynia cordata Thunb. (Saururaceae) (H. cordata), which is a widely used herbal medicine and is also popularly consumed as a healthy vegetable, exhibits anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antitumor activity. However, the chemopreventive effect of H. cordata against benzo(a)pyrene (B[a]P)-initiated lung tumorigenesis and the underlying mechanism remain unclear.

METHODS:

A B[a]P-stimulated lung adenocarcinoma animal model in A/J mice in vivo and a normal lung cell model (BEAS.2B) in vitro were established to investigate the chemopreventive effects of H. cordata and its bioactive compound 2-undecanone against lung tumorigenesis and to clarify the underlying mechanisms.

RESULTS:

H. cordata and 2-undecanone significantly suppressed B[a]P-induced lung tumorigenesis without causing obvious systemic toxicity in mice in vivo. Moreover, H. cordata and 2-undecanone effectively decreased B[a]P-induced intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) overproduction and further notably protected BEAS.2B cells from B[a]P-induced DNA damage and inflammation by significantly inhibiting phosphorylated H2A.X overexpression and interleukin-1β secretion. In addition, H. cordata and 2-undecanone markedly activated the Nrf2 pathway to induce the expression of the antioxidative enzymes heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) and NAD(P)H: quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO-1). Nrf2 silencing by transfection with Nrf2 siRNA markedly decreased the expression of HO-1 and NQO-1 to diminish the reductions in B[a]P-induced ROS overproduction, DNA damage and inflammation mediated by H. cordata and 2-undecanone.

CONCLUSIONS:

H. cordata and 2-undecanone could effectively activate the Nrf2-HO-1/NQO-1 signaling pathway to counteract intracellular ROS generation, thereby attenuating DNA damage and inflammation induced by B[a]P stimulation and playing a role in the chemoprevention of B[a]P-induced lung tumorigenesis. These findings provide new insight into the pharmacological action of H. cordata and indicate that H. cordata is a novel candidate agent for the chemoprevention of lung cancer.

KEYWORDS:

2-undecanone; DNA damage; Houttuynia cordata Thunb.; benzo(a)pyrene; inflammation; nuclear factor E2-related factor-2; reactive oxygen species

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