Viability inhibition effect of gambogic acid combined with cisplatin on osteosarcoma cells via mitochondria-independent apoptotic pathway

Wei Zhao, Chang-Cheng You, Jin-Peng Zhuang, Jia-Ning Zu, Zhi-Yong Chi, Gong-Ping Xu, Jing-Long Yan
Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry 2013, 382 (1-2): 243-52
We previously demonstrated that gambogic acid (GA) is a promising chemotherapeutic compound for human osteosarcoma treatment. The aim of this study was to detect whether the combination of lower-dose GA (0.3 mg/L) and cisplatin (CDDP) (1 mg/L) could perform a synergistic effect on inhibiting tumor in four osteosarcoma cell lines. Our results showed that the combination between GA at lower dose and CDDP significantly exerts a synergistic effect on inhibiting the cellular viability in MG63, HOS, and U2OS cells. In contrast, an antagonistic character was detected in SAOS2 cells exposed to the combined use of lower-dose GA (0.3 mg/L) and CDDP (1 mg/L). Then, analysis of cell cycle showed the combination of both drugs significantly induced the G2/M phase arrest, without any difference relative to GA treatment alone, in MG63 cells. Flow-cytometric analysis of cell apoptosis displayed that the apoptotic rate in the combination group is higher than that in GA treatment alone in MG63, HOS, and U2OS cells. The combined use of both drugs had no effect on mitochondrial membrane potential, but promoted the apoptosis-inducing function through triggering of CDDP in the three cell lines. By measurement of mitochondrial membrane potential, the activity of caspase-3 and the expressions of caspase-8 and caspase-9, it was showed that the apoptosis-promoting effect of the combined use of both drugs could be dependent on the death receptor apoptosis pathway, not dependent on the mitochondria apoptosis mechanism. This research, for the first time, demonstrates that GA could increase the chemotherapeutic effect of CDDP in human osteosarcoma treatment through inducing the cell cycle arrest and promoting cell apoptosis.

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