Locostatin, a disrupter of Raf kinase inhibitor protein, inhibits extracellular matrix production, proliferation, and migration in human uterine leiomyoma and myometrial cells

Raf kinase inhibitor protein is expressed in human myometrium and leiomyoma.

Volume 106, Issue 6, Pages 1530-1538


Milijana Janjusevic, Ph.D., Stefania Greco, M.Sc., M.D., Soriful Islam, Ph.D., Clara Castellucci, M.D., Andrea Ciavattini, M.D., Paolo Toti, M.D., Felice Petraglia, M.D., Pasquapina Ciarmela, Ph.D.



To investigate the presence of Raf kinase inhibitor protein (RKIP) in human myometrium and leiomyoma as well as to determine the effect of locostatin (RKIP inhibitor) on extracellular matrix (ECM) production, proliferation, and migration in human myometrial and leiomyoma cells.


Laboratory study.


Human myometrium and leiomyoma.


Thirty premenopausal women who were admitted to the hospital for myomectomy or hysterectomy.


Myometrial and leiomyoma tissues were used to investigate the localization and the expression level of RKIP through immunohistochemistry and Western blotting. Myometrial and leiomyoma cells were treated with locostatin (10 μM) to measure ECM expression by real-time polymerase chain reaction, GSK3β expression by Western blotting, cell migration by wound-healing assay, and cell proliferation by MTT assay and immunocytochemistry.

Main Outcome Measure(s)

The expression of RKIP in human myometrial and leiomyoma tissue; ECM components and GSK3β expression, migration, and proliferation in myometrial and leiomyoma cells.


RKIP is expressed in human myometrial and leiomyoma tissue. Locostatin treatment resulted in the activation of the MAPK signal pathway (ERK phosphorylation), providing a powerful validation of our targeting protocol. Further, RKIP inhibition by locostatin reduces ECM components. Moreover, the inhibition of RKIP by locostatin impaired cell proliferation and migration in both leiomyoma and myometrial cells. Finally, locostatin treatment reduced GSK3β expression. Therefore, even if the activation of MAPK pathway should increase proliferation and migration, the destabilization of GSK3β leads to the reduction of proliferation and migration of myometrial and leiomyoma cells.


Our results indicate that RKIP may be involved in leiomyoma pathophysiology.

Read the full text here.