Archives of Pharmacal Research

, Volume 42, Issue 6, pp 531–542 | Cite as

Flavonoid morin inhibits proliferation and induces apoptosis of melanoma cells by regulating reactive oxygen species, Sp1 and Mcl-1

  • Yoon Jin Lee
  • Woo Il Kim
  • Soo Young Kim
  • Sung Woo Cho
  • Hae Seon Nam
  • Sang Han Lee
  • Moon Kyun ChoEmail author
Research Article


Reactive oxygen species (ROS) is associated with cancer progression in different cancers, including melanoma. It also affects specificity protein (Sp1), a transcription factor. Flavonoid morin is known to inhibit growth of cancer cells, including lung cancer and breast cancer. Herein, we hypothesized that morin can inhibit cancer activities in melanoma by altering ROS generation. The aim of this study is to determine the effects of morin and its underlying mechanisms in melanoma cells. Effects of morin on cell proliferation and apoptosis were determined using standardized assays. Changes in pro-apoptotic and anti-apoptotic proteins were analyzed by western blot analysis. Cellular ROS levels and mitochondrial function were evaluated by measuring DCF-DA fluorescence and rhodamine-123 fluorescence intensities, respectively. Morin induced ROS production and apoptosis, as presented by increased proportion of cells with Annexin V-PE(+) staining and sub-G0/G1 peak in cell cycle analysis. It also downregulated Sp1, Mcl-1, Bcl-2, and caspase-3 but upregulated cleaved caspase-3, Bax, and PUMA. In immunohistochemical staining, Sp1 was overexpressed in melanoma tissues compared to normal skin tissues. Collectively, our data suggest that morin can induce apoptosis of melanoma cells by regulating pro-apoptotic and anti-apoptotic proteins through ROS, and may be a potential substance for treatment of melanoma.


Morin Melanoma Proliferation ROS Sp1 Mcl-1 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© The Pharmaceutical Society of Korea 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Molecular Cancer ResearchSoonchunhyang University College of MedicineCheonanRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Department of DermatologySoonchunhyang University HospitalSeoulRepublic of Korea

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