An in vitro investigation of the apoptosis-inducing activity of corosolic acid in breast cancer cells

Document Type : Original Article


1 Medical Laboratory Techniques Department, Al-Maarif University College, Al-anbar-Ramadi, Iraq

2 Al-Anbar Health Directorate, Iraq

3 Medical Surgical Nursing Department, King Khalid University, Almahala, Abha, Saudi Arabia

4 Laboratory of Biotoxicology, Pharmacognosy and Biological Valorization of Plants (LBPVBP), Faculty of Sciences, University of Saida-Dr Moulay Tahar, 20000 Saida, Algeria

5 Department of Internal Diseases, Vice-rector for Scientific Affairs and Innovations, Samarkand State Medical University, Amir Temur Street 18, Samarkand, Uzbekistan

6 Medical Laboratories Techniques Department, Al-Mustaqbal University College, Babylon, Hilla, 51001, Iraq

7 International College, Krirk University, Bangkok, 3 Ram Inthra Rd, Khwaeng Anusawari, Khet Bang Khen, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon, 10220, Thailand

8 Medical Laboratory Technology Department, College of Medical Technology, Islamic University, Najaf, Iraq

9 Department of Pharmaceutics, College of Pharmacy, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

10 College of Pharmacy, Al-Ayen University, Thi-Qar, Iraq

11 Medical Laboratory Science Department, Faculty of Applied Medical Sciences, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah 21589, Saudi Arabia

12 Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, College of Pharmacy, University of Mosul, Mosul-41001, Iraq


Objective(s): Breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer among females with different molecular subtypes. Corosolic acid is a pentacyclic triterpenoid with anti-cancer properties. 
Materials and Methods: The MTT assay was used to assess the cytotoxic activity of corosolic acid on MDA-MB-231 and MCF7 cell lines. To determine the apoptotic cells, the flow cytometry technique was utilized. The expression levels of apoptosis-related genes and proteins were quantified using quantitative real time-PCR (qRT-PCR) and Western blotting methods. The activity of caspase enzymes was measured by spectrophotometry.  
Results: Corosolic acid significantly inhibited the proliferation of both cell lines compared with controls. This agent markedly induced apoptosis in MDA-MB-231 cells but did not affect MCF7 cells compared with controls. Treating the MADA-MB-231 and MCF7 cell lines with corosolic acid showed an inducing effect on apoptosis-associated caspases, including Caspase-8, 9, and -3, in MADA-MB-231 cells with no effect on apoptotic markers in MCF7 cells. Further experiments uncovered corosolic acid-induced apoptosis in MADA-MB-231 cells by decreasing the expression of the phosphorylated form of JAK2 and STAT3 proteins.
Conclusion: The present data suggested that corosolic acid is an apoptosis-inducing phytochemical in triple-negative breast cancer MADA-MB-231 cells. Also, corosolic acid triggered apoptosis in these cells by stimulating both pathways of apoptosis and inhibiting the JAK/STAT signaling. Furthermore, corosolic acid was found to inhibit MCF7 cell proliferation by a non-apoptotic mechanism.


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