Due to the radiosensitivity of the airway epithelium, radiation-induced sinusitis or bronchitis is not uncommon, and makes mitigation of resulting inflammatory airway diseases a principal goal of many investigations. This study examined whether Ovatodiolide (Ova) sensitizes the human metastatic nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC) cell line, NPC-BM2, to irradiation using viability, clonogenicity and Western blot assays. Concurrently, we used varying concentrations of histamine and/or Ova to determine the anti-inflammatory potential of Ovatodiolide on normal bronchus epithelial BEAS-2B cells, as well as on the subcellular distribution of Aquaporin 5 (AQP5) and expression levels of p-CREB, AQP5, p38 MAPK, NF-κB, PI3K, Akt and ERK proteins. We demonstrated that Ova in synergism with irradiation inhibited NPC-BM2 cell viability and suppressed their clonogenicity. Immunofluorescence analysis revealed low-dose (≤ 2.5 μM) Ova reversed histamine-induced suppression of AQP5 expression, and abrogated histamine-enhanced NF-κB nuclear translocation, indicating Ova modulates the p38 MAPK/NF-κB signaling pathway and elicits p-CREB/AQP5-mediated antihistamine effects. Similarly, Ova deregulates the PI3K/Akt/ERK signaling in BEAS-2B cells, suggesting its cytoprotective potential. In conclusion, this study highlights the radio-sensitizing anticancer efficacy of Ova in human metastatic NPC cells, as well as its putative cytoprotective role in normal bronchial cells, for airway surface liquid maintenance and homeostasis during or after radiotherapy.
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