Honokiol Articles 2

© 2013

Modulating testosterone pathway: a new strategy to tackle male skin aging?

            (Bernard, Scior et al. 2012) Download

In men, the level of testosterone decreases with age. At the skin level, the result is observed as a decrease in density and in a lower elasticity. Identifying compounds that are able to increase the level of testosterone appears to be an attractive strategy to develop new antiaging bioactive ingredients for men. Reverse pharmacognosy was successfully applied to identify new natural compounds able to modulate testosterone levels. Among several in silico hits, honokiol was retained as a candidate as it has the greatest potential to become an active ingredient. This result was then validated in vitro on aromatase and 5-alpha-reductase type 1 and 2, which are two types of enzymes implicated in the degradation of free testosterone. Indeed, honokiol was identified as an inhibitor of aromatase, with a half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC(50)) of about 50 muM. In addition, honokiol was shown to be an inhibitor of 5-alpha-reductase type 1, with an IC(50) of about 75 muM. Taken together, these data indicate that honokiol modulates testosterone levels, and its structure has the potential to serve as a lead for future designs of highly selective inhibitors of 5-alpha-reductase type 1.

Preferential killing of cancer cells with mitochondrial dysfunction by natural compounds

         (Chen, Wang et al. 2010) Download

Mitochondria play essential roles in cellular metabolism, redox homeostasis, and regulation of cell death. Emerging evidences suggest that cancer cells exhibit various degrees of mitochondrial dysfunctions and metabolic alterations, which may serve as a basis to develop therapeutic strategies to preferentially kill the malignant cells. Mitochondria as a therapeutic target for cancer treatment is gaining much attention in the recent years, and agents that impact mitochondria with anticancer activity have been identified and tested in vitro and in vivo using various experimental systems. Anticancer agents that directly target mitochondria or indirectly affect mitochondrial functions are collectively classified as mitocans. This review article focuses on several natural compounds that preferentially kill cancer cells with mitochondrial dysfunction, and discusses the possible underlying mechanisms and their therapeutic implications in cancer treatment. Mitocans that have been comprehensively reviewed recently are not included in this article. Important issues such as therapeutic selectivity and the relevant biochemical basis are discussed in the context of future perspectives.

Honokiol-mediated inhibition of PI3K/mTOR pathway: a potential strategy to overcome immunoresistance in glioma, breast, and prostate carcinoma without impacting T cell function

            (Crane, Panner et al. 2009) Download

Inhibition of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway is an appealing method for decreasing the immunoresistance and augmenting T cell-mediated immunotherapy. A major impediment to this strategy is the impact of conventional PI3K/mTOR pathway inhibitors on T cell function. In particular, rapamycin, is a well-known immunosuppressant that can decrease the activity of the PI3K/mTOR pathway in tumor cells, but also has a profound inhibitory effect on T cells. Here we show that Honokiol, a natural dietary product isolated from an extract of seed cones from Magnolia grandiflora, can decrease PI3K/mTOR pathway-mediated immunoresistance of glioma, breast and prostate cancer cell lines, without affecting critical proinflammatory T cell functions. Specifically, we show that at doses sufficient to down-regulate levels of phospho-S6 and the negative immune regulator B7-H1 in tumor cells, Honokiol does not significantly impair T cell proliferation or proinflammatory cytokine production. In contrast to classic inhibitors, including LY294002, wortmannin, AKT inhibitor III and rapamycin, Honokiol specifically decreases the PI3K/mTOR pathway activity in tumor cells, but not in freshly stimulated T cells. Collectively, our data define a unique application for Honokiol and provide the impetus to more fully elucidate the mechanism by which T cells are resistant to the effects of this particular inhibitor. Honokiol is clinically available for human testing and may serve to augment T cell-mediated cancer immunotherapy.

PI3K functions in cancer progression, anticancer immunity and immune evasion by tumors

            (Dituri, Mazzocca et al. 2011) Download

The immunological surveillance of tumors relies on a specific recognition of cancer cells and their associate antigens by leucocytes of innate and adaptive immune responses. However, a dysregulated cytokine release can lead to, or be associated with, a failure in cell-cell recognition, thus, allowing cancer cells to evade the killing system. The phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway regulates multiple cellular processes which underlie immune responses against pathogens or malignant cells. Conversely, there is accumulating evidence that the PI3K pathway is involved in the development of several malignant traits of cancer cells as well as their escape from immunity. Herein, we review the counteracting roles of PI3K not only in antitumor immune response but also in the mechanisms that cancer cells use to avoid leukocyte attack. In addition, we discuss, from antitumor immunological point of view, the potential benefits and disadvantages arising from use of anticancer pharmacological agents targeting the PI3K pathway.

Honokiol, a constituent of oriental medicinal herb magnolia officinalis, inhibits growth of PC-3 xenografts in vivo in association with apoptosis induction

            (Hahm, Arlotti et al. 2008) Download

PURPOSE: This study was undertaken to determine the efficacy of honokiol, a constituent of oriental medicinal herb Magnolia officinalis, against human prostate cancer cells in culture and in vivo. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Honokiol-mediated apoptosis was assessed by analysis of cytoplasmic histone-associated DNA fragmentation. Knockdown of Bax and Bak proteins was achieved by transient transfection using siRNA. Honokiol was administered by oral gavage to male nude mice s.c. implanted with PC-3 cells. Tumor sections from control and honokiol-treated mice were examined for apoptotic bodies (terminal deoxyribonucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labeling assay), proliferation index (proliferating cell nuclear antigen staining), and neovascularization (CD31 staining). Levels of Bcl-2 family proteins in cell lysates and tumor supernatants were determined by immunoblotting. RESULTS: Exposure of human prostate cancer cells (PC-3, LNCaP, and C4-2) to honokiol resulted in apoptotic DNA fragmentation in a concentration- and time-dependent manner irrespective of their androgen responsiveness or p53 status. Honokiol-induced apoptosis correlated with induction of Bax, Bak, and Bad and a decrease in Bcl-xL and Mcl-1 protein levels. Transient transfection of PC-3 cells with Bak- and Bax-targeted siRNAs and Bcl-xL plasmid conferred partial yet significant protection against honokiol-induced apoptosis. Oral gavage of 2 mg honokiol/mouse (thrice a week) significantly retarded growth of PC-3 xenografts without causing weight loss. Tumors from honokiol-treated mice exhibited markedly higher count of apoptotic bodies and reduced proliferation index and neovascularization compared with control tumors. CONCLUSION: Our data suggest that honokiol, which is used in traditional oriental medicine for the treatment of various ailments, may be an attractive agent for treatment and/or prevention of human prostate cancers.

Honokiol, a natural plant product, inhibits the bone metastatic growth of human prostate cancer cells

            (Shigemura, Arbiser et al. 2007) Download

BACKGROUND: Honokiol, a soluble nontoxic natural product derived from Magnolia spp., has been shown to induce apoptosis in malignant cells. The effect of honokiol and the combined therapy with docetaxel on prostate cancer (PCa) growth and bone metastasis was investigated in experimental models. METHODS: The in vitro proapoptotic effects of honokiol on human androgen-dependent and -independent PCa, bone marrow, bone marrow-derived endothelial, and prostate stroma cells were investigated. Honokiol-induced activation of caspases was evaluated by Western blot and FACS analysis. To confirm the cytotoxicity of honokiol, mice bone was inoculated in vivo with androgen-independent PCa, C4-2 cells and the effects of honokiol and/or docetaxel on PCa growth in bone were evaluated. Daily honokiol (100 mg/kg) and/or weekly docetaxel (5 mg/kg) were injected intraperitoneally for 6 weeks. PCa growth in mouse bone was evaluated by radiography, serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and tissue immunohistochemistry. RESULTS: Honokiol induced apoptosis in all cell lines tested. In PCa cells honokiol induced apoptosis via the activation of caspases 3, 8, and 9 and the cleavage of poly-adenosine diphosphate ribose polymerase in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Honokiol was shown to inhibit the growth and depress serum PSA in mice harboring C4-2 xenografts in the skeleton and the combination with docetaxel showed additive effects that inhibited further growth without evidence of systemic toxicity. Immunohistochemical staining confirmed honokiol exhibited growth-inhibitory, apoptotic, and antiangiogenic effects on PCa xenografts. CONCLUSIONS: The combination of honokiol and low-dose docetaxel may be used to improve patient outcome in androgen-independent prostate cancer with bone metastasis.


Bernard, P., T. Scior, et al. (2012). "Modulating testosterone pathway: a new strategy to tackle male skin aging?" Clin Interv Aging 7: 351-61 PMID: 23049247

Chen, G., F. Wang, et al. (2010). "Preferential killing of cancer cells with mitochondrial dysfunction by natural compounds." Mitochondrion 10(6): 614-25 PMID: 20713185

Crane, C., A. Panner, et al. (2009). "Honokiol-mediated inhibition of PI3K/mTOR pathway: a potential strategy to overcome immunoresistance in glioma, breast, and prostate carcinoma without impacting T cell function." J Immunother 32(6): 585-92 PMID: 19483651

Dituri, F., A. Mazzocca, et al. (2011). "PI3K functions in cancer progression, anticancer immunity and immune evasion by tumors." Clin Dev Immunol 2011: 947858 PMID: 22046194

Hahm, E. R., J. A. Arlotti, et al. (2008). "Honokiol, a constituent of oriental medicinal herb magnolia officinalis, inhibits growth of PC-3 xenografts in vivo in association with apoptosis induction." Clin Cancer Res 14(4): 1248-57 PMID: 18281560

Shigemura, K., J. L. Arbiser, et al. (2007). "Honokiol, a natural plant product, inhibits the bone metastatic growth of human prostate cancer cells." Cancer 109(7): 1279-89 PMID: 17326044