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Oncogene. 2005 Nov 3;24(48):7180-9.

Luteolin induces apoptosis via death receptor 5 upregulation in human malignant tumor cells.

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Department of Molecular-Targeting Cancer Prevention, Graduate School of Medical Science, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Kawaramachi-Hirokoji, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto 602-8566, Japan.


Luteolin, a naturally occurring flavonoid, induces apoptosis in various cancer cells. Little is known however concerning the underlying molecular mechanisms responsible for this activity. In this report, we reveal a novel mechanism by which luteolin-induced apoptosis occurs, and show for the first time that the apoptosis by luteolin is mediated through death receptor 5 (DR5) upregulation. Luteolin markedly induced the expression of DR5, along with Bcl-2-interacting domain cleavage and the activation of caspase-8, -10, -9 and -3. In addition, suppression of DR5 expression with siRNA efficiently reduced luteolin-induced caspase activation and apoptosis. Human recombinant DR5/Fc also inhibited luteolin-induced apoptosis. On the other hand, luteolin induced neither DR5 protein expression nor apoptosis in normal human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. These results suggest that DR5 induced by luteolin plays a role in luteolin-induced apoptosis, and raises the possibility that treatment with luteolin might be promising as a new therapy against cancer.

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