Abstract Title:

Xanthohumol induces apoptosis in human malignant glioblastoma cells by increasing reactive oxygen species and activating MAPK pathways.

Abstract Source:

J Nat Prod. 2011 Dec 27 ;74(12):2505-13. Epub 2011 Nov 23. PMID: 22111577

Abstract Author(s):

Michela Festa, Anna Capasso, Cosimo W D'Acunto, Milena Masullo, Adriano G Rossi, Cosimo Pizza, Sonia Piacente

Article Affiliation:

Dipartimento di Scienze Farmaceutiche e Biomediche, Università degli Studi di Salerno, Via Ponte Don Melillo, 84084 Fisciano, Salerno, Italy.


The effect of the biologically active prenylated chalcone and potential anticancer agent xanthohumol (1) has been investigated on apoptosis of the T98G human malignant glioblastoma cell line. Compound 1 decreased the viability of T98G cells by induction of apoptosis in a time- and concentration-dependent manner. Apoptosis induced by 1 was associated with activation of caspase-3, caspase-9, and PARP cleavage and was mediated by the mitochondrial pathway, as exemplified by mitochondrial depolarization, cytochrome c release, and downregulation of the antiapoptotic Bcl-2 protein. Xanthohumol induced intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS), an effect that was reduced by pretreatment with the antioxidant N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC). Intracellular ROS production appeared essential for the activation of the mitochondrial pathway and induction of apoptosis after exposure to 1. Oxidative stress due to treatment with 1 was associated with MAPK activation, as determined by ERK1/2 and p38 phosphorylation. Phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and p38 was attenuated using NAC to inhibit ROS production. After treatment with 1, ROS provided a specific environment that resulted in MAPK-induced cell death, with this effect reduced by the ERK1/2 specific inhibitor PD98059 and partially inhibited by the p38 inhibitor SB203580. These findings suggest that xanthohumol (1) is a potential chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme.

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