Diallyl trisulfide-induced apoptosis of bladder cancer cells is caspase-dependent and regulated by PI3K/Akt and JNK pathways

Dong Yeok Shin, Gi-Young Kim, Hye Jin Hwang, Wun-Jae Kim, Yung Hyun Choi
Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology 2014, 37 (1): 74-83
Diallyl trisulfide (DATS) is one of the major organosulfur components of garlic (Allium sativum L.), which inhibits the proliferation of various cancer cells, but the exact mechanisms of this action in human bladder cancer cells still remain largely unresolved. In this study, we investigated how DATS induces apoptosis in T24 human bladder cancer cells in vitro. Treatment of T24 cells with DATS resulted in potent anti-proliferative activity. Additionally, some typical apoptotic characteristics, such as chromatin condensation and an increase in the population of sub-G1 hypodiploid cells, were observed. With respect to the mechanism underlying the induction of apoptosis, DATS reduced the expression of anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL, and inhibitor of apoptosis protein family proteins, but the expression of pro-apoptotic Bax and death receptor-related proteins was increased compared with the controls. DATS also activated caspase-8 and -9, the respective initiator caspases of the extrinsic and the intrinsic apoptotic pathways. The increase in mitochondrial membrane depolarization was correlated with activation of effector caspase-3 and cleavage of poly-ADP-ribose polymerase, a vital substrate of activated caspase-3. Blockage of caspase activation through treatment with a pan-caspase inhibitor consistently inhibited apoptosis and abrogated growth inhibition in DATS-treated T24 cells. The study further investigated the roles of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt and mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) pathways with respect to the apoptotic effect of DATS, and showed that DATS deactivates Akt. Additionally, DATS activates extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and c-Jun N-terminal protein kinase (JNK), but not p38 MAPK, in T24 cells. Unlike ERK, JNK inhibitors reversed DATS-induced apoptosis and growth inhibition; however, inhibition of PI3K/Akt notably enhanced the apoptotic action of DATS. The results suggest that the pro-apoptotic activity of DATS is probably regulated by a caspase-dependent cascade through the activation of both intrinsic and extrinsic signaling pathways, which is mediated through the blocking of PI3K/Akt and the activation of the JNK pathway.

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