Ursolic acid inhibits cyclooxygenase-2 transcription in human mammary epithelial cells Academic Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Breast
  • JNK Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Triterpenes


  • We investigated the effects of ursolic acid, a chemopreventive agent, on the expression of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) in phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA)-treated human mammary and oral epithelial cells. Treatment with ursolic acid suppressed PMA-mediated induction of COX-2 protein and synthesis of prostaglandin E2. Ursolic acid also suppressed the induction of COX-2 mRNA by PMA. Nuclear run-offs revealed increased rates of COX-2 transcription after treatment with PMA, an effect that was inhibited by ursolic acid. Transient transfections indicated that the effects of PMA were mediated by a cyclic AMP response element in the COX-2 promoter. Ursolic acid inhibited PMA-mediated activation of protein kinase C, extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2, c-Jun N-terminal kinase, and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinases. Treatment with PMA increased activator protein-1 activity and the binding of c-Jun to the cyclic AMP response element of the COX-2 promoter, effects that were blocked by ursolic acid. These data are important for understanding the anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties of ursolic acid.

publication date

  • May 2000



  • Academic Article



  • eng

PubMed ID

  • 10811116

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 2399

end page

  • 404


  • 60


  • 9