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Zhonghua Zhong Liu Za Zhi. 2005 Jun;27(6):330-4.

[Apoptosis induced by cantharidin in human pulmonary carcinoma cells A549 and its molecular mechanisms].

[Article in Chinese]

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Department of Thoracic surgery, First Affiliated Hospital, China Medical University, Shenyang 110001, China.



To investigate the apoptosis-inducing effect of cantharidin in human lung cancer cells A549 and its molecular mechanisms.


MTT assay was used to determine A549 cells proliferation. Light and electron microscopy, FACScan, Annexin V-FITC staining and DNA gel electrophoresis were used to detect apoptosis. The expression of bcl-2, Bax and survivin were examined by Western blot.


Cantharidin inhibited the proliferation of A549 cells. The cells treated with cantharidin showed a typical apoptotic morphology and hypodiploid peak before G(1) phase. Flow cytometry analysis with annexin quantitatively further confirmed the increase of cell apoptosis. DNA of treated A549 cells depicted a ladder pattern characteristic of apoptosis, indicating the presence of DNA fragmentation. Western blot assay showed that cantharidin increased the level of Bax expression and inhibited the level of bcl-2 and survivin expression.


Cantharidin can induce A549 cells apoptosis mainly via regulation of Bax, bcl-2 and survivin expression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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