Celastrol inhibits the growth of human glioma xenografts in nude mice through suppressing VEGFR expression

Cancer Lett. 2008 Jun 8;264(1):101-6. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2008.01.043. Epub 2008 Mar 14.


Celastrol, a compound purified from Tripterygium wilfordii whose preparations have been used for clinical treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, has been demonstrated to have antiangiogenic activity, and be inhibitory against mice tumor growth by a few recent studies. However, whether its antiangiogenic activity plays a role in the celastrol-mediated suppression of tumor growth and the molecular basis of anti-tumor activity are poorly understood. In this study, we found that celastrol inhibited the growth of human glioma xenografts in mice, which concurred with the suppression of angiogenesis. Interestingly, while celastrol had no effect on either the expression of VEGF or its mRNA levels, celastrol treatment lowered the expression levels of its receptors (VEGFR-1 and VEGFR-2) and their mRNA levels. These findings suggest that celastrol have potential to be used as an antiangiogenesis drug through its role in suppressing VEGF receptors expression that might consequently reduce the signal transduction between VEGF and VEGFR.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / chemistry
  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Down-Regulation / drug effects
  • Female
  • Glioma / drug therapy*
  • Glioma / pathology
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Nude
  • Molecular Structure
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor / drug effects
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor / genetics
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor / metabolism*
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Triterpenes / chemistry
  • Triterpenes / pharmacology*
  • Tumor Burden
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Triterpenes
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor
  • celastrol