Biomol Ther.  2017 Nov;25(6):609-617. 10.4062/biomolther.2017.074.

α, γ-Mangostins Induce Autophagy and Show Synergistic Effect with Gemcitabine in Pancreatic Cancer Cell Lines

  • 1College of Pharmacy and Wonkwang Oriental Medicines Research Institute, Wonkwang University, Iksan 54538, Republic of Korea.
  • 2College of Pharmacy, Dongguk University-Seoul, Goyang 10326, Republic of Korea.


Pancreatic cancer is one of the most lethal and aggressive cancers in the world. However, no effective treatment is currently available for pancreatic cancer. The objective of this study was to determine the anti-pancreatic cancer effect of α-mangostin (αM) and γ-mangostin (γM) extracted from the pericarp of Garcinia mangostana L.. Both αM and γM reduced the viability of pancreatic cancer cells MIA PaCa-2 and PANC-1 in a dose-dependent manner. These compounds induced apoptosis by increasing c-PARP and c-Caspase 3 levels. They also induced autophagy by increasing levels of microtubule-associated protein 1A/1B light chain 3B (LC3II) in both cell lines while decreasing sequestosome 1 (p62) in MIA PaCa-2. Both αM and γM induced autophagy through increasing phosphorylation levels of AMP-activated protein kinase (p-AMPK) and p38-mitogen activated protein kinase (p-p38) while decreasing phosphorylation level of mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (p-mTOR). Of various microRNAs (miRNA), miR-18a was found to be a putative regulatory miRNA for autophagy induced by αM or γM. In combination with gemcitabine, a compound frequently used in pancreatic cancer treatment, αM and γM showed synergistic anti-cancer effects in MIA PaCa-2. Collectively, these results suggest that αM and γM can induce apoptosis and autophagy in pancreatic cancer cells and that their anti-cancer effect is likely to be associated with miR-18a. In conclusion, αM and γM might be used as a potential new therapy for pancreatic cancer.


α, γ-Mangostins; Pancreatic cancer; Apoptosis; Autophagy; Gemcitabine; microRNA
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