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Pristimerin, a Naturally Occurring Triterpenoid, Exerts Potent Anticancer Effect in Colon Cancer Cells
Biomed. Sci. Lett. 2018;24:15-22
Published online March 31, 2018;
© 2018 The Korean Society For Biomedical Laboratory Sciences.

Hee Won Seo§, Ju-Hyung Park§, Ji Yeon Lee, Hyun-Ju Park and Jin-Kyung Kim

Department of Biomedical Science, Catholic University of Daegu, Gyeongsan-Si 38430, Korea
Correspondence to: Jin-Kyung Kim. Department of Biomedical Science, Catholic University of Daegu, 13-13 Hayang-Ro, Gyeongsan-Si 38430, Korea. Tel: +82-53-850-3774, Fax: +82-53-850-3774, e-mail:
§These authors contributed equally to this work.
Received January 26, 2018; Revised February 14, 2018; Accepted February 23, 2018.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Pristimerin is a triterpene compound isolated from plant extracts that reportedly possesses antitumor, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory activities. The current study was designed to evaluate the antitumor effects of pristimerin on human colon cancer cells. Treatment of the human colon cancer cells, HCT116 and SW480, with pristimerin led to a dose-dependent decrease in cell proliferation. Flow cytometry experiments showed that pristimerin increased cell apoptotic rate and decreased the mitochondrial membrane potential in HCT116 and SW480 cells. Western blot assay showed that pristimerin induced increased cleavage of caspase-3, -7, -8, and poly ADP ribose polymerase. Treatment with pristimerin also caused a marked decrease in the expression of Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL. Additionally, the levels of phosphorylated AKT and forkhead box O3a (FOXO3a) were decreased in pristimerin-treated colon cancer cells. Taken together, our study illustrated that pristimerin promoted apoptosis via the AKT/FOXO3a signaling pathway in colon cancer cells, elucidating that it might be considered as a potential agent for colon cancer therapy.
Keywords : Apoptosis, AKT, Colon cancer cells, Forkhead box O3a, Pristimerin