Brassinolide, a plant sterol from pollen of Brassica napus L., induces apoptosis in human prostate cancer PC-3 cells

Pharmazie. 2007 May;62(5):392-5.


Brassinolide is a plant sterol first isolated from pollen of rape (Brassica napus L.). The present study was carried out to investigate the effect of brassinolide on androgen-independent human prostate cancer PC-3 cell viability. Results showed that brassinolide could induce a time and concentration-dependent cytotoxicity in PC-3 cells. The mode of cell death appeared to be predominately apoptosis, as shown by flow-cytometric analysis, fluorescence and transmission electron microscopes. Caspase-3 activity was obviously increased after brassinolide treatment. Western blot studies indicated that treatment with brassinolide triggered a time-dependent decrease in the expression of anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2. We suggest that brassinolide could induce cytotoxicity in PC-3 cells by triggering apoptosis. Brassinolide might therefore be a promising candidate for the treatment of prostate cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Androgens / physiology
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Blotting, Western
  • Brassica / chemistry*
  • Brassinosteroids
  • Caspase 3 / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cholestanols / pharmacology*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / drug effects
  • Genes, bcl-2
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Pollen / chemistry
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Steroids, Heterocyclic / pharmacology*


  • Androgens
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Brassinosteroids
  • Cholestanols
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Steroids, Heterocyclic
  • Caspase 3
  • brassinolide