Schweinfurthins are intriguing natural products with anti-cancer activities and as yet incompletely understood mechanisms of action. We investigated whether inhibitors of P-glycoprotein (Pgp), in a manner analogous to other natural products, might enhance schweinfurthins’ growth inhibitory actions by increasing intracellular schweinfurthin levels. Both the schweinfurthin-sensitive glioblastoma multiforme cell line SF-295 and relatively insensitive lung carcinoma cell line A549 were treated with 2 schweinfurthin analogs: 3-deoxyschweinfurthin B-pnitro bis-stilbene (3dSB-PNBS) and 50-methylschweinfurthin G (methyl-G). There was a synergistic enhancement of growth inhibition with the combination of the Pgp inhibitor verapamil and both analogs in SF-295 cells. Methyl-G, verapamil, and the combination did not result in alterations to intracellular calcium concentration. Verapamil increased the intracellular concentration of 3dSB-PNBS in both SF-295 and A549 cells in a Pgp-independent manner. Methyl-G, verapamil, and the combination do not result in increased ER stress. Methyl-G increased the intracellular concentration of a known Pgp substrate, Rhodamine 123 in SF-295 cells. Reduction of cellular cholesterol leads to the accumulation of Pgp substrates, as Pgp requires cholesterol for proper function. Since 3dSB enhances lovastatin-induced upregulation of the cholesterol efflux pump ABCA1, it is intriguing that cotreatment with cholesterol rescued the methyl-G-induced increase in Rhodamine 123 intracellular concentration. These studies support the hypothesis that verapamil potentiates the schweinfurthin growth inhibitory effect by increasing its intracellular concentration.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Medicine
- Cancer Research