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Apoptosis. 2007 Oct;12(10):1911-26.

A triterpenediol from Boswellia serrata induces apoptosis through both the intrinsic and extrinsic apoptotic pathways in human leukemia HL-60 cells.

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Division of Pharmacology, Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine, Canal Road, Jammu, 180001, India.


A triterpenediol (TPD) comprising of isomeric mixture of 3alpha, 24-dihydroxyurs-12-ene and 3alpha, 24-dihydroxyolean-12-ene from Boswellia serrata induces apoptosis in cancer cells. An attempt was made in this study to investigate the mechanism of cell death by TPD in human leukemia HL-60 cells. It inhibited cell proliferation with IC50 approximately 12 microg/ml and produced apoptosis as measured by various biological end points e.g. increased sub-G0 DNA fraction, DNA ladder formation, enhanced AnnexinV-FITC binding of the cells. Further, initial events involved massive reactive oxygen species (ROS) and nitric oxide (NO) formation, which were significantly inhibited by their respective inhibitors. Persistent high levels of NO and ROS caused Bcl-2 cleavage and translocation of Bax to mitochondria, which lead to loss of mitochondrial membrane potential (Deltapsim) and release of cytochrome c, AIF, Smac/DIABLO to the cytosol. These events were associated with decreased expression of survivin and ICAD with attendant activation of caspases leading to PARP cleavage. Furthermore, TPD up regulated the expression of cell death receptors DR4 and TNF-R1 level, leading to caspase-8 activation. These studies thus demonstrate that TPD produces oxidative stress in cancer cells that triggers self-demise by ROS and NO regulated activation of both the intrinsic and extrinsic signaling cascades.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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