Cell Stress and Chaperones

, Volume 23, Issue 5, pp 885–896 | Cite as

Rosmarinic acid and siRNA combined therapy represses Hsp27 (HSPB1) expression and induces apoptosis in human glioma cells

  • Aslıhan Şengelen
  • Evren Önay-Uçar
Original Paper


High expression of Hsp27 in glioma cells has been closely associated with tumor cell proliferation and apoptosis inhibition. The aim of the present study was to asses the effects of rosmarinic acid (RA) on Hsp27 expression and apoptosis in non-transfected and transfected human U-87 MG cells. The effect of rosmarinic acid was compared to quercetin, which is known to be a good Hsp27 inhibitor. In order to block the expression of Hsp27 gene (HSPB1), transfection with specific siRNAs was performed. Western blotting technique was used to assess the Hsp27 expression, and caspase-3 colorimetric activity assay was performed to determine apoptosis induction. According to the results, it was found that RA and quercetin effectively silenced Hsp27 and both agents induced apoptosis by activating the caspase-3 pathway. Eighty and 215 μM RA decreased the level of Hsp27 by 28.8 and 46.7% and induced apoptosis by 30 and 54%, respectively. For the first time, we reported that rosmarinic acid has the ability to trigger caspase-3 induced apoptosis in human glioma cells. As a result of siRNA transfection, the Hsp27 gene was silenced by ~ 50% but did not cause a statistically significant change in caspase-3 activation. It was also observed that apoptosis was induced at a higher level as a result of Hsp27 siRNA and subsequent quercetin or RA treatment. siRNA transfection and 215 μM RA treatment suppressed Hsp27 expression level by 90.5% and increased caspase-3 activity by 58%. Herein, we demonstrated that RA administered with siRNA seems to be a potent combination for glioblastoma therapy.


Rosmarinic acid Quercetin siRNA Hsp27 Glioma Apoptosis 



Heat shock protein 27




Rosmarinic acid


RNA interference


Small interfering RNA


The half-maximal inhibitory concentration


Glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase



This work was supported by the Istanbul University Research Foundation, Turkey (Project Number: 57959). We are grateful to Yeditepe University for their generous gift of U-87 MG cell line.

Supplementary material

12192_2018_896_MOESM1_ESM.docx (430 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 429 kb)


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Copyright information

© Cell Stress Society International 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Faculty of ScienceIstanbul UniversityIstanbulTurkey

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