Piperlongumine inhibits migration of glioblastoma cells via activation of ROS-dependent p38 and JNK signaling pathways

Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2014;2014:653732. doi: 10.1155/2014/653732. Epub 2014 May 22.


Piperlongumine (PL) is recently found to kill cancer cells selectively and effectively via targeting reactive oxygen species (ROS) responses. To further explore the therapeutic effects of PL in cancers, we investigated the role and mechanisms of PL in cancer cell migration. PL effectively inhibited the migration of human glioma (LN229 or U87 MG) cells but not normal astrocytes in the scratch-wound culture model. PL did not alter EdU(+)-cells and cdc2, cdc25c, or cyclin D1 expression in our model. PL increased ROS (measured by DCFH-DA), reduced glutathione, activated p38 and JNK, increased IκBα, and suppressed NFκB in LN229 cells after scratching. All the biological effects of PL in scratched LN229 cells were completely abolished by the antioxidant N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC). Pharmacological administration of specific p38 (SB203580) or JNK (SP600125) inhibitors significantly reduced the inhibitory effects of PL on LN229 cell migration and NF κ B activity in scratch-wound and/or transwell models. PL prevented the deformation of migrated LN229 cells while NAC, SB203580, or SP600125 reversed PL-induced morphological changes of migrated cells. These results suggest potential therapeutic effects of PL in the treatment and prevention of highly malignant tumors such as glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in the brain by suppressing tumor invasion and metastasis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Astrocytes / drug effects
  • Astrocytes / pathology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Migration Assays
  • Cell Movement / drug effects*
  • Cell Nucleus / drug effects
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Dioxolanes / pharmacology*
  • Enzyme Activation / drug effects
  • Glioblastoma / enzymology*
  • Glioblastoma / pathology*
  • Humans
  • I-kappa B Proteins / metabolism
  • JNK Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System / drug effects
  • NF-KappaB Inhibitor alpha
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Protein Transport / drug effects
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism*


  • Dioxolanes
  • I-kappa B Proteins
  • NF-kappa B
  • NFKBIA protein, human
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • NF-KappaB Inhibitor alpha
  • JNK Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • piperlonguminine