Experimental and therapeutic medicine

Celastrol inhibits migration and invasion through blocking the NF-κB pathway in ovarian cancer cells.

PMID 28673005


Metastatic ovarian cancer is a major clinical challenge with poor prognosis and high mortality. Celastrol is a natural compound that has exhibits antiproliferative activity; however, its effects on metastasis-related phenotypes in ovarian cancer models are unclear. In the current study, the anti-invasive activities and associated signaling pathways of celastrol were determined in ovarian cancer cells. Cell proliferation was tested by MTT assay. Cell migration was detected by wound healing and Transwell assays, while cell invasion was detected by a Matrigel-coated Transwell method. In addition, nuclear factor (NF)-κB and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) expression was examined by western blotting, and MMP-2/-9 activities were determined by gelatin zymography. At sub-toxic concentrations (<0.5 µM), celastrol inhibited migration and invasion in a concentration-dependent manner in SKOV-3 and OVCAR-3 cells. At the molecular level, celastrol blocked the canonical NF-κB pathway by inhibiting IκBα phosphorylation, and preventing IκBα degradation and p65 accumulation. Furthermore, the expression and activity of the NF-κB target protein MMP-9, but not MMP-2, were inhibited by celastrol. Furthermore, celastrol showed no synergistic effect with MG132, an NF-κB inhibitor. In conclusion, celastrol exhibited significant anti-invasive activities in ovarian cancer cells. Such functions may be mediated via NF-κB pathway blockade. The results of this