Nobiletin, a bioactive polymethoxylated flavone (5,6,7,8,3',4'-hexamethoxyflavone), is abundant in citrus fruit peel. Although nobiletin exhibits antitumor activity against various cancer cells, the effect of nobiletin on glioma cells remains unclear. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of nobiletin on the human U87 and Hs683 glioma cell lines. Treating glioma cells with nobiletin (20-100 μm) reduced cell viability and arrested the cell cycle in the G0/G1 phase, as detected using a 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay and propidium iodide (PI) staining, respectively; however, nobiletin did not induce cell apoptosis according to PI-annexin V double staining. Data from western blotting showed that nobiletin significantly attenuated the expression of cyclin D1, cyclin-dependent kinase 2, cyclin-dependent kinase 4, and E2 promoter-binding factor 1 (E2F1) and the phosphorylation of Akt/protein kinase B and mitogen-activated protein kinases, including p38, extracellular signal-regulated kinase, and c-Jun N-terminal kinase. Our data also showed that nobiletin inhibited glioma cell migration, as detected by both functional wound healing and transwell migration assays. Altogether, the present results suggest that nobiletin inhibits mitogen-activated protein kinase and Akt/protein kinase B pathways and downregulates positive regulators of the cell cycle, leading to subsequent suppression of glioma cell proliferation and migration. Our findings evidence that nobiletin may have potential for treating glioblastoma multiforme.
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