Isoangustone A present in hexane/ethanol extract of Glycyrrhiza uralensis induces apoptosis in DU145 human prostate cancer cells via the activation of DR4 and intrinsic apoptosis pathway

Mi Ra Seon, Soon Sung Lim, Hyun Ju Choi, So Young Park, Han Jin Cho, Jin-Kyu Kim, Jongdai Kim, Dae Young Kwon, Jung Han Yoon Park
Molecular Nutrition & Food Research 2010, 54 (9): 1329-39
Glycyrrhiza uralensis (licorice) is one of the most frequently prescribed ingredients in Oriental medicine, and licorice extract has been shown to exert anti-carcinogenic effects. However, its use as a cancer chemopreventive agent is rather limited, due to the fact that its principal component, glycyrrhizin, is known to induce hypertension. This study determined the effects of a hexane/ethanol extract of G. uralensis (HEGU), which contains undetectable amounts of glycyrrhizin, on the apoptosis of androgen-insensitive DU145 cells. HEGU induced apoptosis and increased the levels of cleaved caspase-9, caspase-7, caspase-3 and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP). HEGU also induced mitochondrial membrane depolarization and cytochrome c release to the cytosol. HEGU increased the levels of Fas, death receptor 4 (DR4), cleaved caspase-8, Mcl-1S, and truncated Bid proteins. A caspase-8 inhibitor suppressed HEGU-induced apoptosis. An active fraction of HEGU was separated via column chromatography and the structure of the active compound isoangustone A was identified via 1H-NMR and 13C-NMR. Isoangustone A increased apoptotic cells, the cleavage of PARP and caspases, and the levels of DR4 and Mcl-1S. Transfection with DR4 small interfering RNA attenuated HEGU- and isoangustone A-induced apoptosis. These results demonstrate that the activation of DR4 contributes to HEGU- and isoangustone A-induced apoptosis of DU145 cells.

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