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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 120-135

Deoxyelephantopin induces ROS-mediated autophagy and apoptosis in human colorectal cancer in vitro and in vivo


1 Biomolecular Research Group, Biochemistry Program, Institute of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
2 Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Correspondence Address:
Habsah Abdul Kadir
Biomolecular Research Group, Biochemistry Program, Institute of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia
Pooi-Fong Wong
Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2221-1691.276318

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Objective: To systematically map the stepwise events leading to deoxyelephantopin-induced cell death of HCT116 human colorectal cancer cells and evaluate the effectiveness of deoxyelephantopin in vivo. Methods: HCT116 cells were treated with deoxyelephantopin at various concentrations and time points. Autophagy was confirmed by the detection of autophagosomes and autophagosomal proteins by electron microscopy and Western blotting assays, respectively, and then validated by siRNA knockdown. In addition, apoptosis was confirmed by the detection of apoptosis-related proteins. The intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) level was measured using flow cytometry. The growth inhibitory effect of deoxyelephantopin was further evaluated in vivo using a mouse xenograft model. Results: Deoxyelephantopin firstly elevated ROS production, which then triggered autophagic flux with the accumulation of autophagosomal proteins including LC3A/B, ATG5, and ATG7, followed by the induction of apoptosis via the intrinsic and extrinsic pathways. Pre-treatment with N-acetyl-L-cysteine, a ROS inhibitor, reversed both apoptosis and autophagy. The knockdown of LC3 prevented apoptosis induction which confirmed that deoxyelephantopin induced autophagy-dependent apoptosis in HCT116 cells. Accumulation of ROS also activated apoptosis via the mitogen-activated protein kinases signaling pathway. Furthermore, deoxyelephantopin also inhibited the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway, which then released the inhibition of autophagy. In vivo study further showed that deoxyelephantopin significantly suppressed the growth of HCT116 subcutaneous xenograft in nude mice. Conclusions: Our findings revealed that deoxyelephantopin elevates oxidative stress and induces ROS-dependent autophagy followed by apoptosis in HCT116 cells via the concerted modulation of multiple signaling pathways. These findings further support the development of deoxyelephantopin as a therapeutic agent for colorectal cancer.


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