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International Journal of Cell Biology
Volume 2014, Article ID 572097, 25 pages
Review Article

Methyl Jasmonate: Putative Mechanisms of Action on Cancer Cells Cycle, Metabolism, and Apoptosis

Laboratório de Bioquímica e Biologia Molecular do Câncer, Instituto de Bioquímica Médica, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Avenida Carlos Chagas Filho 373, Prédio CCS, Bloco E, Sala 22, Ilha do Fundão, Cidade Universitária, 21941-902 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil

Received 12 May 2013; Revised 6 November 2013; Accepted 7 November 2013; Published 6 February 2014

Academic Editor: Afshin Samali

Copyright © 2014 Italo Mario Cesari et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Methyl jasmonate (MJ), an oxylipid that induces defense-related mechanisms in plants, has been shown to be active against cancer cells both in vitro and in vivo, without affecting normal cells. Here we review most of the described MJ activities in an attempt to get an integrated view and better understanding of its multifaceted modes of action. MJ (1) arrests cell cycle, inhibiting cell growth and proliferation, (2) causes cell death through the intrinsic/extrinsic proapoptotic, p53-independent apoptotic, and nonapoptotic (necrosis) pathways, (3) detaches hexokinase from the voltage-dependent anion channel, dissociating glycolytic and mitochondrial functions, decreasing the mitochondrial membrane potential, favoring cytochrome release and ATP depletion, activating pro-apoptotic, and inactivating antiapoptotic proteins, (4) induces reactive oxygen species mediated responses, (5) stimulates MAPK-stress signaling and redifferentiation in leukemia cells, (6) inhibits overexpressed proinflammatory enzymes in cancer cells such as aldo-keto reductase 1 and 5-lipoxygenase, and (7) inhibits cell migration and shows antiangiogenic and antimetastatic activities. Finally, MJ may act as a chemosensitizer to some chemotherapics helping to overcome drug resistant. The complete lack of toxicity to normal cells and the rapidity by which MJ causes damage to cancer cells turn MJ into a promising anticancer agent that can be used alone or in combination with other agents.