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J Med Food. 2006 Summer;9(2):138-44.

Selaginella tamariscina induces apoptosis via a caspase-3-mediated mechanism in human promyelocytic leukemia cells.

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Department of Herbal Resources, Professional Graduate School of Oriental Medicine, Wonkwang University, Jeonbuk, Korea.


Cell apoptosis is now known to play an important role in the maintenance of cellular homeostasis and anticarcinogenesis. Selaginella tamariscina (ST) is a traditional medicinal plant for treatment of advanced cancer in the Orient. In the present study, the anticancer effect of ST was investigated by analyzing its potential to induce apoptosis in human leukemia HL-60 cells. ST-induced cytotoxicity of HL-60 cells was monitored by the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay. The apoptosis was determined by microscopic examination of apoptotic morphology, determination of DNA fragmentation by electrophoresis, activation of caspase-3, and protein expression of procaspase-3, poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) cleavage, Bcl-2, and Bax. ST was cytotoxic to HL-60 cells in a dose-dependent manner. However, ST-induced cytotoxicity was suppressed by reactive oxygen species scavengers, including superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase. ST caused DNA fragmentation and nuclear condensation, all characteristics of apoptosis. ST-induced apoptosis is accompanied by the activation of caspase-3 and the specific proteolytic cleavage of PARP. Concomitantly, ST treatments led to an increase in the proapoptotic Bax levels, while Bcl-2 expression was decreased. Moreover, this effect was attenuated by SOD and catalase. These results suggest that oxidative stress may be involved in the cytotoxicity of ST, and that ST-induced apoptosis of HL-60 cells is primarily mediated by the caspase activation pathway.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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