There is increasing evidence that urokinase-type plasminogen activator (u-PA) and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) play an important role in cancer metastasis and angiogenesis. Inhibition of u-PA and MMPs could suppress migration and invasion of cancer cells. Berberine, one of the main constituents of the plant Rhizoma coptidis, is a type of isoquinoline alkaloid, reported to have anti-cancer effects in different human cancer cell lines. There is however, no available information on effects of berberine on migration and invasion of human tongue cancer cells. Here, we report that berberine inhibited migration and invasion of human SCC-4 tongue squamous carcinoma cells. This action was mediated by the p-JNK, p-ERK, p-p38, IκK and NF-κB signaling pathways resulting in inhibition of MMP-2 and -9 in human SCC-4 tongue squamous carcinoma cells. Our Western blowing analysis also showed that berberine inhibited the levels of urokinase-plasminogen activator (u-PA). These results suggest that berberine down-regulates u-PA, MMP-2 and -9 expressions in SCC-4 cells through the FAK, IKK and NF-κB mediated pathways and a novel function of berberine is to inhibit the invasive capacity of malignant cells.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by Grant CMU97-094 from China Medical University, Taiwan and NIH grants AG-23524 and AG-18357, USA.
- Matrix metalloproteinases
- Migration and invasion
- SCC-4 cancer cells
- Urokinase-type plasminogen activator