Beta-lapachone, a quinone isolated from Tabebuia avellanedae, induces apoptosis in HepG2 hepatoma cell line through induction of Bax and activation of caspase.
J Med Food. 2006 Summer;9(2):161-8. PMID: 16822200
The DNA topoisomerase inhibitor beta-lapachone is a quinone obtained from the bark of the lapacho tree (Tabebuia avellanedae) in South America. It has been reported to possess a wide range of pharmacological properties, and is a promising cancer chemopreventive agent. In this study, the effects of beta-lapachone on the growth of the human hepatoma cell line HepG2 were investigated. The results showed that beta-lapachone inhibits the viability of HepG2 by inducing apoptosis, as evidenced by the formation of apoptotic bodies and DNA fragmentation. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and immunoblotting results indicated that treatments of cells with beta-lapachone resulted in down-regulation of anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 and Bcl-X(L) and up-regulation of pro-apoptotic Bax expression. beta-Lapachone-induced apoptosis was associated with a proteolytic activation of caspase-3 and -9 and degradation of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase protein. However, beta-lapachone treatment did not affect the inhibitor of apoptosis proteins family and the Fas/FasL system. Taken together, our study indicated that beta-lapachone may have potential as a chemopreventive agent for liver cancer.