Ethnopharmacological relevance: Leonurus japonicus Houttuyn is a medicinal ingredient in more than 300 prescriptions in traditional Korean medicine. It is especially important for women's health and blood-related diseases. Recent research revealed that Leonurus japonicus Houttuyn extracts have antioxidative, anticancer, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective properties. Aim of the study: However, its underlying anti-cancerous mechanisms remain unclear. This study elucidated the anticancer mechanism of Leonurus japonicus Houttuyn in U937 and THP-1 cancer cells. Materials and methods: High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) was used for detecting main compound of Leonurus japonicus Houttuyn, rutin. EZ-Cytox cell viability assay, Western blot analysis, live and dead cell assay, 2′, 7’ dichlorofluorescin diacetate (DCFDA) assay, quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) analysis, and microRNA (miR) mimic transfection assay were applied to further investigate anti-cancer efficacies and underlying mechanism in U937 and THP-1 cells. Results: The main compound of Leonurus japonicus Houttuyn, rutin was detected using HPLC. The cytotoxic effect of Leonurus japonicus Houttuyn was exerted in U937 and THP-1 cancer cells but not in MDBK and IEC-6 normal cells. Leonurus japonicus Houttuyn decreased mitochondria membrane potential (ΔΨm). Consistently, Leonurus japonicus Houttuyn reduced the expression of survivin and cleaved caspase-9, caspase-3, and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP). Cell death was increased in Leonurus japonicus Houttuyn treated groups. Phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10 (PTEN) and CCAAT-enhancer-binding protein homologous protein (CHOP) was increased and phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K) and Protein kinase B (AKT) were decreased by Leonurus japonicus Houttuyn. Reactive oxygen speices generation was elevated by Leonurus japonicus Houttuyn and its cytotoxicity was reversed by N-acetyl-l-cysteine (NAC) pretreatment. Moreover, onco-microRNA (miR), miR-19a-3p was suppressed by Leonurus japonicus Houttuyn and transfection of miR-19a-3p mimic reversed the regulated PTEN, p-AKT, CHOP expression, attenuating Leonurus japonicus Houttuyn induced apoptosis. Conclusions: These findings indicated that Leonurus japonicus Houttuyn has anti-cancer effects by regulation of PTEN/PI3K/AKT signal pathway and ROS-related ER stress-induced apoptosis via regulation of miR-19a-3p. Leonurus japonicus Houttuyn may be an effective candidate for triggering PTEN-dependent apoptosis of cancer cells related to acute myeloid leukemia.
- Leonurus japonicus Houttuyn
- Mitochondrial membrane potential
- Reactive oxygen species