Bishonokiol A Induces Multiple Cell Death in Human Breast Cancer MCF-7 Cells

Document Type : Research Articles


1 School of Pharmacy, Bengbu Medical University, 2600 Donghai Road, Bengbu, Anhui, China.

2 Department of Medicinal Chemistry, School of Pharmacy, Bengbu Medical University, 2600 Donghai Road, Bengbu, Anhui, China.


Objective: A dimeric neolignan, bishonokiol A (BHNKA) isolated from Magnolia grandiflora, significantly inhibits the proliferation of human breast cancer cells. However, the exact mechanism of BHNKA induced breast cancer cell death is unknown. In this study, we investigated the pharmacological mechanism underlying BHNKA induced MCF-7 cell death. Methods: Cell viability measurement was performed by the MTT assay. Flow cytometry with PI staining, DAPI staining, and electron microscopy were used to analyze cellular death modes. In addition, western blotting, siRNA transfection, ATP assay, and fluorescence microscopy were used to determine the mechanism of BHNKA induced MCF-7 cell death. Results: BHNKA induced cell death by apoptosis, necroptosis and autophagy at the same concentration and time in MCF-7 cells, and electron microscopy confirmed these results. The mechanism of BHNKA triggered apoptosis and autophagy in MCF-7 cells was primarily due to an increase in the Bax/Bcl-2 ratio and simultaneous up-regulation of LC3-II protein expression, respectively. BHNKA induced necroptosis by activation of the RIP1-RIP3-MLKL necroptosis cascade, up-regulation of cyclophilin D (CypD) protein expression to stimulate ROS generation. We further demonstrated that siRNA-mediated down-regulation of CypD protected against BHNKA induced cell death. Conclusions: These results suggest that BHNKA may be a potential lead compound for development as an anti-breast cancer agent for induction of multiple cell death pathways.


Main Subjects

Volume 21, Issue 4
April 2020
Pages 1073-1080
  • Receive Date: 30 November 2019
  • Revise Date: 09 February 2020
  • Accept Date: 11 April 2020
  • First Publish Date: 11 April 2020