Upregulation of Fas/Fas ligand-mediated apoptosis by gossypol in an immortalized human alveolar lung cancer cell line

Jung-San Chang, Ya-Ling Hsu, Po-Lin Kuo, Lien-Chai Chiang, Chun-Ching Lin
Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology & Physiology 2004, 31 (10): 716-22
Gossypol has wide antineoplastic effects in vitro, but its effects on human lung cancer have not been explored. To evaluate the activity of gossypol against alveolar cell lung cancer and to provide information on the mechanism of action, we examined the effects of gossypol on the proliferation of A549 cells indirectly using an XTT assay and on the distribution of cells within the phases of the cell cycle using flow cytometry. We also examined several factors that may affect apoptosis, including p53, p21/WAF1, Fas receptor, Fas ligand (FasL) and caspase 8 activity. The results showed that gossypol inhibited proliferation of A549 cells at a concentration of 0.5 micromol/L after 12 h treatment. The effect was both dose- and time-dependent by the induction of apoptosis without the effect of p53 and p21/WAF1. Upregulation of Fas/FasL, in association with the activation of downstream caspase 8 activity, was observed following treatment with gossypol. The Fas/FasL pathway accounted for 75% of gossypol-mediated apoptosis. We suggest that the Fas/FasL apoptotic system is the major pathway for gossypol-mediated apoptosis of A549 cells. Gossypol had no effect on the distribution of A549 cells within the phases of the cell cycle. In conclusion, gossypol inhibited A549 cells mainly by induction of the Fas/FasL apoptotic pathway, but not the p53 and p21/WAF1 pathway.

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