Abstract Title:

Allicin inhibits cell growth and induces apoptosis through the mitochondrial pathway in HL60 and U937 cells.

Abstract Source:

J Nutr Biochem. 2008 Aug;19(8):524-35. Epub 2007 Dec 21. PMID: 18155508

Abstract Author(s):

Talia Miron, Meir Wilchek, Ayala Sharp, Yoshihito Nakagawa, Makoto Naoi, Yoshinori Nozawa, Yukihiro Akao

Article Affiliation:

Department of Biological Chemistry, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel. [email protected]


In this article, the effects of allicin, a biological active compound of garlic, on HL60 and U937 cell lines were examined. Allicin induced growth inhibition and elicited apoptotic events such as blebbing, mitochondrial membrane depolarization, cytochrome c release into the cytosol, activation of caspase 9 and caspase 3 and DNA fragmentation. Pretreatment of HL60 cells with cyclosporine A, an inhibitor of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mPTP), inhibited allicin-treated cell death. HL60 cell survival after 1 h pretreatment with cyclosporine A, followed by 16 h in presence of allicin (5 microM) was approximately 80% compared to allicin treatment alone (approximately 50%). Also N-acetyl cysteine, a reduced glutathione (GSH) precursor, prevented cell death. The effects of cyclosporine A and N-acetyl cysteine suggest the involvement of mPTP and intracellular GSH level in the cytotoxicity. Indeed, allicin depleted GSH in the cytosol and mitochondria, and buthionine sulfoximine, a specific inhibitor of GSH synthesis, significantly augmented allicin-induced apoptosis. In HL60 cells treated with allicin (5 microM, 30 min) the redox state for 2GSH/oxidized glutathione shifted from EGSH -240 to -170 mV. The same shift was observed in U937 cells treated with allicin at a higher concentration for a longer period of incubation (20 microM, 2 h). The apoptotic events induced by various concentrations of allicin correlate to intracellular GSH levels in the two cell types tested (HL60: 3.7 nmol/10(6) cells; U937: 7.7 nmol/10(6) cells). The emerging mechanistic basis for the antiproliferative function of allicin, therefore, involves the activation of the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway by GSH depletion and by changes in the intracellular redox status.

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