Luting Lin, Jingming Luo, Zeng Wang, Xinjun Cai

Borneol promotes autophagic degradation of HIF-1α and enhances chemotherapy sensitivity in malignant glioma

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Medicine
  • General Neuroscience

Background Gliomas are characterized by high mortality rates and resistance. Even with conventional chemotherapy the prognosis of glioblastoma remains poor. Many medications are not optimally effective due to limited bioavailability. The bioavailability of medicine can be enhanced by borneol, a monoterpenoid substance. In this study, we investigated the effect of borneol, a commonly used Chinese medicine, on chemosensitivity in C6 glioma and U251 human glioma cell lines and elucidated its therapeutic molecular targets. Methods The chemosensitivity-inducing effects of borneol in C6 and U251 cells were examined using CCK8 and clonal formation assays. The mechanism underlying the effect of borneol was evaluated through immunohistochemistry and western blotting assays. Further, the number of autophagosomes was determined via transmission electron microscopy. Finally, the chemical sensitization effect of borneol was evaluated in SD rats after C6 orthotopic tumor transplantation. Results Borneol increased cytotoxicity in C6 and U251 cells in response to temozolomide (TMZ). In addition, through transmission electron microscopy, western blotting, and immunohistochemical tests, we found that borneol combined with TMZ significantly increased the level of autophagy and that hypoxia inducible factor-1(HIF-1α) is a candidate target through which borneol enhances the cytotoxic effect of TMZ. Borneol’s ability to enhance HIF-1α degradation was counteracted following the administration of autophagy inhibitors. In vivo, borneol treatment was found to enhance the anticancer effect of TMZ and delay tumor progression, and this effect was closely related to its ability to promote the autophagic degradation of HIF-1α. Conclusions HIF-1α might be a valid therapeutic target of borneol, which can be potentially applied as a chemosensitizing drug used for glioma treatment.

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