Triptolide inhibits pituitary adenoma cell viability, migration and invasion via ADAM12/EGFR signaling pathway

Life Sci. 2018 Feb 1;194:150-156. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2017.12.037. Epub 2017 Dec 27.


Aim: Triptolide, an effective component derived from Tripterygium wilfordii, has been well recognized to process a broad-spectrum antitumor activities in various tumor types. However, the potential role of triptolide in pituitary adenomas remains unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate the precise role of triptolide and underlying mechanism in regulating pituitary adenoma cell viability, migration and invasion.

Main methods: We use mouse pituitary adenoma cells (TtT/GF and AtT20 cells) as the experiment model and treated them with varying concentrations of triptolide. The corresponding inhibitory effects on cell viability, migration, invasion and apoptosis were examined respectively, and the underlying mechanism was determined by investigating ADAM12 (a disintegrin and metalloprotease 12)/EGFR signaling.

Key findings: Triptolide significantly inhibited cell viability, migration and invasion in TtT/GF and AtT20 cells in a dose-dependent manner. Mechanistically, triptolide significantly reduced ADAM12 expression at protein levels and attenuated ADAM12/EGFR signaling. Meanwhile, triptolide treatment combined with ADAM12 silencing enhanced the suppression effects on cell viability, migration and invasion, and those effects were restored following ADAM12-rescued. Moreover, triptolide suppressed the tumorigenesis of TtT/GF and AtT20 cells in vivo.

Significance: Our research provides evidence that triptolide inhibits pituitary adenoma cell viability, migration and invasion via ADAM12/EGFR signaling pathway. These findings suggest a potential role for triptolide in treating pituitary adenomas.

Keywords: ADAM12; EGFR; Pituitary adenomas; Triptolide.

MeSH terms

  • ADAM12 Protein / metabolism*
  • Adenoma / diet therapy*
  • Adenoma / metabolism
  • Adenoma / pathology
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Alkylating / pharmacology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects*
  • Diterpenes / pharmacology*
  • Epoxy Compounds / pharmacology
  • ErbB Receptors / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Phenanthrenes / pharmacology*
  • Pituitary Gland / drug effects
  • Pituitary Gland / metabolism
  • Pituitary Gland / pathology
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / pathology
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Alkylating
  • Diterpenes
  • Epoxy Compounds
  • Phenanthrenes
  • triptolide
  • ErbB Receptors
  • ADAM12 Protein