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J Oral Pathol Med. 2014 Feb;43(2):91-6. doi: 10.1111/jop.12102. Epub 2013 Jun 24.

Long-term stimulation of areca nut components results in increased chemoresistance through elevated autophagic activity.

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  • 1Department of Dentistry, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan; Department of Dentistry, National Defense Medical Center, Taipei, Taiwan; Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Section, Chi Mei Medical Center, Tainan, Taiwan.



We previously demonstrated the autophagy-inducing activity in the crude extract of areca nut (ANE) and its 30-100 kDa fraction (ANE 30-100 K). This study aimed to analyze whether chronic ANE and ANE 30-100 K stimulations lead to higher stress resistance and autophagic activity in oral cells, and whether the resulting autophagic status in stimulated cells correlates with stress resistance.


Malignant cells from the mouth oral epidermoid carcinoma Meng-1 (OECM-1) and blood (Jurkat T) origins were stimulated with non-cytotoxic ANE and ANE 30-100 K for 3 months. Sensitivity to anticancer drugs of and autophagy status in stimulated cells, analyzed respectively by XTT assay and calculating microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3-II LC3-II/β-actin ratios from Western blot, were compared to non-treated cells. Autophagy inhibitors, 3-methyladenine (3-MA) and chloroquine (CQ), were used to assess whether autophagy inhibition interferes the altered chemoresistance.


Areca nut extract-stimulated (ANE-s) and ANE 30-100 K-stimulated (30-100 K-s) OECM-1 and Jurkat T cells generally exhibited higher cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) resistances, compared to non-stimulated cells. Most stimulated cells expressed significantly higher levels of LC3-II and Atg4B proteins. Interestingly, these cells also showed stronger tolerances against hypoxia environment and expressed higher LC3-II levels under glucose-deprived and hypoxia conditions. Finally, both 3-MA and CQ alleviated, albeit to different degrees, the increased chemoresistance in ANE-s and/or 30-100 K-s cells.


Chronic stimulations of ANE or ANE 30-100 K may increase tolerance of oral cancer and leukemia T cells to anticancer drugs, as well as to glucose deprivation and hypoxia conditions, and cause an elevation of autophagy activity responsible for increased drug resistance.

© 2013 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


5-fluorouracil; areca nut; autophagy; chemoresistance; cisplatin

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