Genipin, a constituent of Gardenia jasminoides Ellis, induces apoptosis and inhibits invasion in MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells

Oncol Rep. 2012 Feb;27(2):567-72. doi: 10.3892/or.2011.1508. Epub 2011 Oct 20.


Genipin, a constituent of Gardenia jasminoides Ellis, is used in the treatment of hepatic disorders and inflammatory diseases in traditional medicine. Although mounting evidence suggests an anti-tumor activity of genipin in several cancer cell systems, the inhibitory effect of genipin on the growth of breast cancer cells has not been reported yet. The present study aimed to investigate the anti-proliferative activity of genipin in MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells. Herein, we showed that genipin efficiently induced apoptosis in MDA-MB-231 cells by the down-regulation of Bcl-2, up-regulation of Bax and proteolytic activation of caspase-3. Activation of JNK and p38 MAPK also increased by genipin. Importantly, genipin significantly inhibited invasive and migratory phenotypes of MDA-MB-231 cells. Taken together, this study demonstrates that genipin induces apoptosis and inhibits invasive/migratory abilities of highly invasive MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells, suggesting a potential application of genipin as a chemopreventive agent that may prevent or alleviate metastatic breast cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins / genetics
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement / drug effects*
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Female
  • Gardenia / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Iridoids / pharmacology*
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System / drug effects


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • Iridoids
  • genipin