Triptolide inhibits the proliferation and migration of medulloblastoma Daoy cells by upregulation of microRNA-138

J Cell Biochem. 2018 Dec;119(12):9866-9877. doi: 10.1002/jcb.27307. Epub 2018 Aug 28.


Medulloblastoma is a primitive neuroectodermal-derived brain tumor and the most common malignant brain tumor in children. Triptolide (TPL) is the major active component extracted from Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F. This study aimed to explore the effects of TPL on medulloblastoma cell proliferation, migration, and apoptosis, as well as the underlying possible molecular mechanism. Viability, proliferation, and apoptosis of Daoy cells were measured using cell counting kit-8 assay, 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine incorporation assay, and Guava Nexin assay, respectively. Cell migration was detected using two-chamber transwell assay and wound healing assay. Quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) was performed to determine the relative expression of microRNA-138 (miR-138) in Daoy cells. Cell transfection was used to change the expression of miR-138 in cells. Western blot analysis was used to analyze the expression of key factors involved in cell apoptosis, cell migration, the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/protein kinase 3 (AKT) pathway, and the Notch pathway in Daoy cells. We found that TPL significantly inhibited the viability, proliferation, and migration of Daoy cells but promoted Daoy cell apoptosis. The expression levels of matrix metalloproteinases (MMP)-2 and MMP-9 after TPL treatment were decreased. The expression of miR-138 in Daoy cells after TPL treatment was increased. Suppression of miR-138 obviously reversed the TPL-induced Daoy cell proliferation, migration inhibition, and cell apoptosis enhancement, as well as the inactivation of the PI3K/AKT and Notch pathways. Cyclin-dependent kinase 6 (CDK6) was a direct target gene of miR-138, which might be involved in the antitumor effects of TPL on Daoy cells. In conclusion, our study verified that TPL exerted anticancer effects on medulloblastoma cells possibly via upregulating miR-138 and inactivating the PI3K/AKT and Notch pathways.

Keywords: cell proliferation; medulloblastoma; microRNA-138 (miR-138); notch signaling pathway; phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/protein kinase 3 (AKT) signaling pathway; triptolide.

Publication types

  • Retracted Publication

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement
  • Cell Proliferation*
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms / genetics
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Diterpenes / pharmacology*
  • Diterpenes / therapeutic use
  • Epoxy Compounds / pharmacology
  • Epoxy Compounds / therapeutic use
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Medulloblastoma / drug therapy*
  • Medulloblastoma / genetics
  • Medulloblastoma / metabolism
  • Medulloblastoma / physiopathology
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • Phenanthrenes / pharmacology*
  • Phenanthrenes / therapeutic use
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism
  • Receptors, Notch / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Diterpenes
  • Epoxy Compounds
  • MIRN138 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs
  • Phenanthrenes
  • Receptors, Notch
  • triptolide
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt