Paeonol reverses paclitaxel resistance in human breast cancer cells by regulating the expression of transgelin 2

Phytomedicine. 2014 Jun 15;21(7):984-91. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2014.02.012. Epub 2014 Mar 26.


Paclitaxel (PTX) is a first-line antineoplastic drug that is commonly used in clinical chemotherapy for breast cancer treatment. However, the occurrence of drug resistance in chemotherapeutic treatment has greatly restricted its use. There is thus an urgent need to find ways of reversing paclitaxel chemotherapy resistance in breast cancer. Plant-derived agents have great potential in preventing the onset of the carcinogenic process and enhancing the efficacy of mainstream antitumor drugs. Paeonol, a main compound derived from the root bark of Paeonia suffruticosa, has various biological activities, and is reported to have reversal drug resistance effects. This study established a paclitaxel-resistant human breast cancer cell line (MCF-7/PTX) and applied the dual-luciferase reporter gene assay, MTT assay, flow cytometry, transfection assay, Western blotting and the quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) to investigate the reversing effects of paeonol and its underlying mechanisms. It was found that transgelin 2 may mediate the resistance of MCF-7/PTX cells to paclitaxel by up-regulating the expressions of the adenosine-triphosphate binding cassette transporter proteins, including P-glycoprotein (P-gp), multidrug resistance associated protein 1 (MRP1), and breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP). Furthermore, the ability of paeonol to reverse paclitaxel resistance in breast cancer was confirmed, with a superior 8.2-fold reversal index. In addition, this study found that paeonol down-regulated the transgelin 2-mediated paclitaxel resistance by reducing the expressions of P-gp, MRP1, and BCRP in MCF-7/PTX cells. These results not only provide insight into the potential application of paeonol to the reversal of paclitaxel resistance, thus facilitating the sensitivity of breast cancer chemotherapy, but also highlight a potential role of transgelin 2 in the development of paclitaxel resistance in breast cancer.

Keywords: Breast cancer; Paclitaxel resistance; Paeonol; Reverse; Transgelin 2.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B / genetics
  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily G, Member 2
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / genetics
  • Acetophenones / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm / drug effects*
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / drug effects
  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • Humans
  • MCF-7 Cells / drug effects
  • Microfilament Proteins / genetics*
  • Microfilament Proteins / metabolism
  • Multidrug Resistance-Associated Proteins / genetics
  • Muscle Proteins / genetics*
  • Muscle Proteins / metabolism
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics
  • Paclitaxel / adverse effects*
  • Paclitaxel / pharmacology
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / drug effects
  • Up-Regulation / drug effects


  • ABCB1 protein, human
  • ABCG2 protein, human
  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B
  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily G, Member 2
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters
  • Acetophenones
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Microfilament Proteins
  • Multidrug Resistance-Associated Proteins
  • Muscle Proteins
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Tagln2 protein, human
  • paeonol
  • Paclitaxel
  • multidrug resistance-associated protein 1