Abstract Title:

The coffee diterpene kahweol induces apoptosis in human leukemia U937 cells through down-regulation of Akt phosphorylation and activation of JNK.

Abstract Source:

Apoptosis. 2009 Nov ;14(11):1378-86. PMID: 19768546

Abstract Author(s):

Jung Hwa Oh, Jung Tae Lee, Eun Sun Yang, Jong-Soo Chang, Dong Sun Lee, Sang Hyun Kim, Yung Hyun Choi, Jong-Wook Park, Taeg Kyu Kwon

Article Affiliation:

Jung Hwa Oh


Kahweol, the coffee-specific diterpene, has been reported for its tumor cell growth inhibitory activity and anti-carcinogenic activity. The mechanism by which kahweol initiates apoptosis remains poorly understood. In the present study, we investigated the effect of kahweol on the apoptotic pathway in U937 human promonocytic cells. We show that kahweol induces apoptosis in association with the activation of caspase 3 and cytochrome c release from the mitochondria to the cytosol, as well as down-regulation of anti-apoptotic proteins (Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, Mcl-1 and XIAP). Kahweol altered the phosphorylation state of members of the MAPKs and Akt. Ectopic expression of Bcl-2 or constitutive active Akt (myr-Akt) in U937 cells attenuates kahweol-induced apoptosis. In addition, we have also shown that JNK and Akt signal pathway plays a crucial role in kahweol-induced apoptosis in U937 cells. Taken together, our results show the activity of kahweol to modulate multiple components in apoptotic response of human leukemia cells and raise the possibility a novel therapeutic strategy in hematological malignancies.

Study Type : In Vitro Study

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