Curcumin induces apoptosis in human gastric carcinoma AGS cells and colon carcinoma HT-29 cells through mitochondrial dysfunction and endoplasmic reticulum stress

Aili Cao, Qi Li, Peihao Yin, Yang Dong, Hailian Shi, Li Wang, Guang Ji, Jianqun Xie, Dazheng Wu
Apoptosis: An International Journal on Programmed Cell Death 2013, 18 (11): 1391-1402
In the present study, we investigate the effect of curcumin, a major active component isolated from rhizomes of Curcuma longa, on the cytotoxicity of three human carcinoma cell lines (AGS, HT-29 and MGC803) in gastrointestinal tract and a normal gastric epithelial cell line GES-1, and the mechanism of curcumin-induced apoptosis. The results indicated that curcumin inhibited the gastrointestinal carcinoma cell growth in a dose-dependent manner and cytotoxicity was more towards the gastric carcinoma cell AGS and colon carcinoma cell HT-29 compared to normal gastric cell GES-1, and increased externalization of phosphatidylserine residue was observed by Annexin V/PI staining in the two cell lines. Treatment of AGS and HT-29 cells with curcumin enhanced the cleavage of procaspase-3, -7, -8 and -9. Meanwhile, curcumin induced endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and mitochondrial dysfunction as evidenced by up-regulation of CCAAT/enhancer binding protein homologous protein (CHOP), phosphorylation of JNK and down-regulation of SERCA2ATPase, release of cytochrome c, decrease of Bcl-2 and reduction of mitochondrial membrane potential in both AGS and HT-29 cells. Overexpression of bax, total JNK, phospho-FADD and total FADD were also observed in curcumin-treated HT-29 cells. Moreover, curcumin decreased cytosolic and ER Ca(2+), but increased mitochondrial Ca(2+) in the two cell lines. 2-Aminoethoxydiphenyl borate, an antagonist of inositol 1, 4, 5-triphosphate receptor, partly blocked curcumin-induced cytosolic Ca(2+) decrease in AGS and HT-29 cells. Additionally, carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone, an inhibitor of mitochondrial Ca(2+) uptake, reversed curcumin-triggered AGS and HT-29 cells growth inhibition. siRNA to CHOP markedly reduced curcumin-induced apoptosis. These results suggest that curcumin can impact on ER stress and mitochondria functional pathways in AGS and HT-29 cells, death receptor pathway was also involved in curcumin-treated HT-29 cells, thus identifying specific well-defined molecular mechanisms that may be targeted by therapeutic strategies.

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