Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Resveratrol represses YKL-40 expression in human glioma U87 cells

Wei Zhang12, Koji Murao3, Xiang Zhang1, Kensuke Matsumoto3, Suwarni Diah4, Masaki Okada2, Keisuke Miyake2, Nobuyuki Kawai2, Zhou Fei1* and Takashi Tamiya2*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Neurosurgery, Xijing Hospital, The Fourth Military Medical University, 127 West Changle Road, Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, 710032, People's Republic of China

2 Department of Neurological Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Kagawa University, 1750-1 Ikenobe, Miki-cho, Kida-gun, Kagawa 761-0793, Japan

3 Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Kagawa University, 1750-1 Ikenobe, Miki-cho, Kida-gun, Kagawa 761-0793, Japan

4 Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, Kagawa University, 1750-1 Ikenobe, Miki-cho, Kida-gun, Kagawa 761-0793, Japan

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Cancer 2010, 10:593  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-10-593

Published: 28 October 2010



Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most malignant intracranial tumour that develops in both adults and children. Microarray gene analyses have confirmed that the human YKL-40 gene is one of the most over-expressed genes in these tumours but not in normal brain tissue. Clinical studies have shown that serum YKL-40 levels are positively correlated with tumour burden in addition to being an independent prognostic factor of a short relapse-free interval as well as short overall survival in patients with various cancers. Our previous study revealed that YKL-40 was closely correlated with the pathological grades of human primary astrocytomas and played a crucial role in glioma cell proliferation. Hence, YKL-40 could be an attractive target in the design of anti-cancer therapies.


Cell viability and invasion assays were performed to detect the cell proliferation and invasive ability of U87 cells induced by resveratrol (3, 5, 4'-trihydroxystilbene; Res) or YKL-40 small-interfering RNAs (siRNAs). In addition, the luciferase assay, real-time RT-PCR, western blotting, and ELISA were used to measure YKL-40 promoter activity, mRNA, and protein expression, respectively. The expressions of phosphor-ERK1/2 and ERK1/2 were determined by western blotting.


Res inhibited U87 cell proliferation and invasion in vitro and repressed YKL-40 in U87 cells by decreasing the activity of its promoter and reducing mRNA transcription and protein expression in vitro. YKL-40 siRNA treatment also impaired the invasiveness of U87 cells. When U87 cells were cultured with 20 μM PD98059 (an ERK1/2 inhibitor) alone, with 20 μM PD98059 and 100 μM Res, or with 100 μM Res alone for 48 h, YKL-40 protein expression decreased most significantly in the Res-treated group. PD98059 partially reversed the decrease of YKL-40 protein expression induced by Res. Furthermore, phosphor-ERK1/2 expression was reduced by Res treatment in a time-dependent manner.


We demonstrated for the first time that Res represses YKL-40 expression in vitro; in addition, the ERK1/2 pathway is involved in this repression. This finding could extend the prospective use of Res in glioma research and enlarge the armamentarium for treating gliomas.