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Formononetin promotes proliferation that involves a feedback loop of microRNA-375 and estrogen receptor alpha in estrogen receptor-positive cells

Formononetin promotes proliferation that involves a feedback loop of microRNA-375 and estrogen receptor alpha in estrogen receptor-positive cells

Molecular Carcinogenesis 55(3): 312-319

Formononetin is an O-methylated isoflavone that is isolated from the root of Astragalus membranaceus, and it has antitumorigenic effects. Our previous studies found that formononetin triggered growth-inhibitory and apoptotic activities in MCF-7 breast cancer cells. To further investigate the potential effect of formononetin in promoting cell proliferation in estrogen receptor (ER)-positive cells, we used in vivo and in vitro studies to elucidate the possible mechanism. ERα-positive cells (HUVEC, MCF-7) were treated with formononetin. The CCK8 assay, Hoechst 33258, and flow cytometry were used to assess cell proliferation and apoptosis. mRNA levels of ERα, Bcl-2, and miR-375 were quantified using real-time polymerase chain reaction. ERα, p-Akt, and Bcl-2 expression was determined using Western blot. Compared with the control, low formononetin concentrations (2-6 μM) stimulated ERα-positive cell proliferation (HUVEC, MCF-7). The more sensitive HUVEC cells were used to study the relevant signaling pathway. After treatment with formononetin, ERα, miR-375, p-Akt, and Bcl-2 expression was significantly upregulated. The proliferative effect of formononetin was also blocked by a miR-375 inhibitor or raloxifene pretreatment. Additionally, in the in vivo studies, uterine weight in ovariectomized mice treated with formononetin increased significantly, but the weight dramatically decreased with raloxifene or miR-375 inhibitor pretreatment before formononetin. This study demonstrated that formononetin promoted ERα-positive cell proliferation through miR-375 activation and this mechanism is possibly involving in a miR-375 and ERα feedback loop.

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Accession: 057894888

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PMID: 25663261

DOI: 10.1002/mc.22282

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