The induction of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9 is particularly important for the invasiveness of various cancer cells. Osthole, a natural coumarin derivative extracted from traditional Chinese medicines, is known to inhibit the proliferation of a variety of tumor cells, but the effect of osthole on the invasiveness of tumor cells is largely unknown. This study determines whether and by what mechanism osthole inhibits invasion in CL1-5 human lung adenocarcinoma cells. Herein, we found that osthole effectively inhibited the migratory and invasive abilities of CL1-5 cells. A zymographic assay showed that osthole inhibited the proteolytic activity of MMP-9 in CL1-5 cells. Inhibition of migration, invasion, and MMP2 and/or MMP-9 proteolytic activities was also observed in other lung adenocarcinoma cell lines (H1299 and A549). We further found that osthole inhibited MMP-9 expression at the messenger RNA and protein levels. Moreover, a chromatin immunoprecipitation assay showed that osthole inhibited the transcriptional activity of MMP-9 by suppressing the DNA binding activity of nuclear factor (NF)-κB in the MMP-9 promoter. Using reporter assays with point-mutated promoter constructs further confirmed that the inhibitory effect of osthole requires an NF-κB binding site on the MMP-9 promoter. Western blot and immunofluorescence assays demonstrated that osthole inhibited NF-κB activity by inhibiting IκB-α degradation and NF-κB p65 nuclear translocation. In conclusion, we demonstrated that osthole inhibits NF-κB-mediated MMP-9 expression, resulting in suppression of lung cancer cell invasion and migration, and osthole might be a potential agent for preventing the invasion and metastasis of lung cancer.
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