Tumor Biology

, Volume 37, Issue 12, pp 15937–15947 | Cite as

Reversal effect of ouabain on multidrug resistance in esophageal carcinoma EC109/CDDP cells by inhibiting the translocation of Wnt/β-catenin into the nucleus

  • Yucheng Shen
  • Qinghua Wang
  • Ye Tian
Original Article


The incidence of esophageal carcinoma is increasing throughout the world. A major obstacle to its treatment is acquired multidrug resistance (MDR) which results in the failure of chemotherapy and patient relapse. Here, we identified that ouabain is capable of reversing MDR to cisplatin (CDDP) in EC109/CDDP cells and explore the possible mechanisms of action. The parental and the MDR cell lines were both sensitive to ouabain with 50 % inhibitory concentration (IC50) values of 258.11 and 710.63 nM, respectively. Cisplatin cytotoxicity increased in the EC109/CDDP cells by the addition of ouabain which helps promote CDDP-induced apoptosis. Ouabain at 20 nM effectively reduced the IC50 of CDDP in EC109/CDDP cells from 36.54 to 3.39 μM. This represents a 10.78-fold increase in sensitization to CDDP. We also found that ouabain was capable of down regulating the expression of P-glycoprotein (P-gp) and Bcl-2 in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Finally, the results indicated that ouabain suppressed Wnt luciferase report (TOPFlash) activity obviously in EC109/CDDP and depressed the translocation of β-catenin into the nucleus. Moreover, ouabain showed reversal effect of MDR to CDDP in nude mouse xenograft model, and reduced the protein level of β-catenin (Y333) in tumor tissue of CDDP plus ouabain group. All data proved that ouabain has a potent β-catenin-dependent anti-MDR effect.


Ouabain Multidrug resistance Esophageal carcinoma Wnt/β-catenin 



The study was supported by Jiangsu Provincial Special Program of Clinical Medical Science (BL2014040), Suzhou Science and Technology Development Program (SZS201509), and Natural Science Foundation of the Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions of China (11KJB180010).

Compliance with ethical standards

All animal studies were carried out in compliance with the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of Nantong University, China.

Conflict of interest


Supplementary material

13277_2016_5437_Fig6_ESM.gif (95 kb)
Fig. 1

Effect of ouabain on EC109/CDDP cell cycle was detected by flow cytometry and western blot. (GIF 94 kb)

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High resolution image (TIFF 309 kb)
13277_2016_5437_Fig7_ESM.gif (303 kb)
Fig. 2

H&E stains the structure of mice liver. (GIF 303 kb)

13277_2016_5437_MOESM2_ESM.tif (1021 kb)
High resolution image (TIFF 1020 kb)
13277_2016_5437_Fig8_ESM.gif (15 kb)
Table. 1

Examine the level of ALT and AST in mice liver by ELISA. (GIF 14 kb)

13277_2016_5437_MOESM3_ESM.tif (22 kb)
High resolution image (TIFF 21 kb)


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Copyright information

© International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Radiotherapy and OncologyThe Second Affiliated Hospital of Soochow UniversitySuzhouChina
  2. 2.Institute of Radiotherapy and OncologySoochow UniversitySuzhouChina
  3. 3.Suzhou Key Laboratory for Radiation OncologySuzhouChina
  4. 4.Department of OncologyAffiliated Haian Hospital of Nantong UniversityNantongChina
  5. 5.Laboratory Animal Center of Nantong UniversityNantongChina

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