Diosgenin induces ROS-dependent autophagy and cytotoxicity via mTOR signaling pathway in chronic myeloid leukemia cells.
Phytomedicine. 2016 Mar 15 ;23(3):243-52. Epub 2016 Feb 9. PMID: 26969378
BACKGROUND: Diosgenin, a steroidal saponin isolated from legumes and yams, has been confirmed to possess potent anticancer effect on multifarious tumors including chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).
PURPOSE: We aimed to further determine the anti-cancer activity of diosgenin and its mechanisms in CML cells.
METHODS: The cell vitality was detected by MTT assay. Autophagic flux and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production were analyzed by laser scanning confocal microscope. Apoptosis was observed by flow cytometry. All proteins expression was examined by western blotting.
RESULTS: Autophagy induction was demonstrated by examination of autophagic flux including autophagosomes accumulation, autophagosome-lysosome fusion and degradation of autophagosomes. Moreover, blocking autophagy with inhibitor chloroquine (CQ) and 3-methyladenine (3-MA), enhanced diosgenin-induced apoptosis, indicating the protective effect of autophagy in diosgenin-treated CML cells. Further study suggested that diosgenin-induced autophagy and cytotoxicity were accompanied by reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway inhibition. N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) administration, a scavenger agent of ROS, could down-regulate diosgenin-induced autophagy via reversion of mTOR pathway inhibition.
CONCLUSION: These results indicate that diosgenin obviously generates ROS and this oxidative pressure not only produces cytotoxic effect on CML cells but also induces autophagy. What's more, autophagy functions as a cytoprotective mechanism to overcome cytotoxicity of diosgenin in tumor cells and inhibition of autophagy can enhance the anti-CML activity of diosgenin.