Cancer has long been one of the most malignant diseases worldwide. Processes in cancer cells are often mediated by Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38 MAPK) and other signaling pathways. Traditional therapies are often problematic. Recently, a novel polysaccharide derived from algae extract was investigated due to the increasing interest in biological activities of compounds from marine organisms. The effect of this novel polysaccharide on human MKN45 gastric carcinoma cells was determined previously. The current aimed to determine whether the polysaccharide affects other types of cancer, and the deeper mechanisms involved in the process. Human MCF-7 breast cancer cells were used to investigate the novel polysaccharide for its role in the cell growth and migration, and determine the mechanisms affected. MTT assay, nuclear staining and fluorescence activated cell sorting analysis demonstrated that the novel polysaccharide reduced the viability of MCF-7 cells by inducing cell apoptosis and arresting the cells at G2/M phase. Results of western blot analysis demonstrated that phosphorylation of JNK and expression of p53, caspase-9 and caspase-3 were upregulated in the polysaccharide-treated MCF-7 cells. SP600125, an inhibitor of JNK, maintained MCF-7 cell viability, prevented cell apoptosis and cycle arrest, and downregulated the polysaccharide-induced protein phosphorylation/expression. However, a migration assay demonstrated that the novel polysaccharide did not change the migration of MCF-7 cells, as well as the expression of p38 MAPK, and matrix metalloproteinase-9 and -2. Taken together, the current study demonstrated that the novel polysaccharide suppressed cancer cell growth, induced cancer cell apoptosis and cell cycle arrest via JNK signaling, but had no effect on cancer cell migration and p38 MAPK signaling.
MCF-7 cells; proliferation; apoptosis; cell cycle; Jun N-terminal kinase; p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase