Celastrol inhibits mouse B16-F10 melanoma cell survival by regulating the PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway and repressing HIF-1α expression

Discov Oncol. 2024 May 21;15(1):178. doi: 10.1007/s12672-024-01045-6.


OBJECTIVE: Melanoma, with its high degree of malignancy, stands as one of the most dangerous skin cancers and remains the primary cause of death from skin cancer. With studies demonstrating the potential of traditional Chinese medicine to intervene and treat melanoma, we turned our attention to celastrol. Celastrol is a triterpene compound extracted from the traditional Chinese medicine derived from Tripterygium wilfordii. Previous studies have shown that celastrol exerts inhibitory effects on various malignant tumors, including melanoma. Hence, our goal was to clarify the impact of celastrol on cell viability, apoptosis, and cell cycle progression by elucidating its effects on the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway.

METHODS: CCK-8 and wound healing assays were used to determine the effect of celastrol on the viability and migration of B16-F10 cells. Changes in cell apoptosis, cell cycle, reactive oxygen species (ROS), and mitochondrial membrane potential were detected by flow cytometry. PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway proteins and HIF-α mRNA expression in B16-F10 cells were detected by western blotting and qPCR. Moreover, the addition of a PI3K activator demonstrated that celastrol could inhibit the function of B16-F10 cells via the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway.

RESULTS: Celastrol inhibited the viability and migration of B16-F10 cells. Through the inhibition of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway down-regulates the expression of HIF-α mRNA, thereby causing an increase of ROS in cells and a decrease in the mitochondrial membrane potential to promote cell apoptosis and cell cycle arrest. The inhibitory effect of celastrol on B16-F10 cells was further demonstrated by co-culturing with a PI3K activator.

CONCLUSION: Celastrol inhibits the function of B16-F10 cells by inhibiting the PI3K/AKT/mTOR cellular pathway and regulating the expression of downstream HIF-α mRNA.

PMID:38771435 | DOI:10.1007/s12672-024-01045-6