Akebia saponin PA induces autophagic and apoptotic cell death in AGS human gastric cancer cells

Mei-Ying Xu, Dong Hwa Lee, Eun Ji Joo, Kun Ho Son, Yeong Shik Kim
Food and Chemical Toxicology 2013, 59: 703-8
In this study, we investigated the anticancer mechanism of akebia saponin PA (AS), a natural product isolated from Dipsacus asperoides in human gastric cancer cell lines. It was shown that AS-induced cell death is caused by autophagy and apoptosis in AGS cells. The apoptosis-inducing effect of AS was characterized by annexin V/propidium (PI) staining, increase of sub-G1 phase and caspase-3 activation, while the autophagy-inducing effect was indicated by the formation of cytoplasmic vacuoles and microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain-3 II (LC3-II) conversion. The autophagy inhibitor bafilomycin A1 (BaF1) decreased AS-induced cell death and caspase-3 activation, but caspase-3 inhibitor Ac-DEVD-CHO did not affect LC3-II accumulation or AS-induced cell viability, suggesting that AS induces autophagic cell death and autophagy contributes to caspase-3-dependent apoptosis. Furthermore, AS activated p38/c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), which could be inhibited by BaF1, and caspase-3 activation was attenuated by both SB202190 and SP600125, indicating that AS-induced autophagy promotes mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs)-mediated apoptosis. Taken together, these results demonstrate that AS induces autophagic and apoptotic cell death and autophagy plays the main role in akebia saponin PA-induced cell death.

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