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Induction of apoptosis by Armillaria mellea constituent armillarikin in human hepatocellular carcinoma

Authors Chen Y, Chen C, Huang H

Received 9 January 2016

Accepted for publication 20 May 2016

Published 1 August 2016 Volume 2016:9 Pages 4773—4783


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Ram Prasad

Peer reviewer comments 5

Editor who approved publication: Dr Faris Farassati

Yu-Jen Chen,1–4 Chien-Chih Chen,5 Huey-Lan Huang6

1Department of Medical Research, 2Department of Radiation Oncology, Mackay Memorial Hospital, 3Institute of Traditional Medicine, School of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, 4Institute of Pharmacology, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, 5Department of Biotechnology, HungKuang University, Taichung, 6Department of Bioscience Technology, College of Health Science, Chang Jung Christian University, Tainan, Taiwan

Armillaria mellea is a honey mushroom often used in the traditional Chinese medicine “Tianma”. Currently, this medicinal mushroom is also used as a dietary supplement in numerous Western and Eastern countries. Armillarikin was isolated from A. mellea, and we previously discovered that it induced cytotoxicity in human leukemia cells. In this study, we further investigated the cytotoxicity of armillarikin against liver and intrahepatic bile duct cancer cells. Armillarikin was cytotoxic against human hepatocellular carcinoma Huh7, HA22T, and HepG2 cells based on the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-5-(3-carboxymethoxyphenyl)-2-(4-sulfophenyl)-2H-tetrazolium and alamarBlue® assays. Armillarikin treatment also induced the collapse of the mitochondrial transmembrane potential of these cells. Furthermore, armillarikin-induced apoptotic cell death was demonstrated by sub-G1 chromosomal DNA formation by using flow cytometry. In addition, the apoptosis was inhibited by the pan-caspase inhibitor, Z-VAD-fmk. Immunoblotting also revealed the armillarikin-induced activation of procaspase-3, -8, and -9 and upregulation of the apoptosis- and cell cycle arrest-related phospho-histones 2 and 3, respectively. Moreover, reactive oxygen species scavengers also inhibited the armillarikin-induced apoptosis in human hepatocellular carcinoma, suggesting that reactive oxygen species formation played an important role in the armillarikin-induced apoptosis of human hepatocellular carcinoma. In conclusion, our study indicates the potential of armillarikin as an effective agent for hepatoma or leukemia therapies.

armillarikin, Armillaria mellea (A. mellea), hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), apoptosis, reactive oxygen species (ROS)

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