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Cancer Sci. 2008 Jun;99(6):1109-16. doi: 10.1111/j.1349-7006.2008.00809.x. Epub 2008 Apr 21.

Resveratrol induces apoptosis in K562 (chronic myelogenous leukemia) cells by targeting a key survival protein, heat shock protein 70.

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Crystallography and Molecular Biology Division, Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, 1/AF Bidhan Nagar, Kolkata-700064, India.


Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) is a myeloproliferative disease associated with a characteristic chromosomal translocation called the Philadelphia chromosome. This results in the expression of the Bcr-Abl fusion protein, a constitutively active protein tyrosine kinase. Although there are a few treatment options with Bcr-Abl kinase inhibitors, drug resistance is often encountered. One of the major obstacles in overcoming drug resistance in CML is the high endogenous levels of heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70). Resveratrol is a phytoalexin produced by several plants. We studied the chemotherapeutic effects and mode of action of resveratrol on K562 (CML) cells. Resveratrol induced apoptosis in K562 cells in a time-dependent manner. This was established by increased annexin V binding, corroborated with an enhanced caspase-3 activity and a rise in the sub-G(0)/G(1) population. Resveratrol treatment also caused suppression of Hsp70 both in mRNA and protein levels. The downregulation of Hsp70 by resveratrol exposure was correlated with a diminished presence of heat shock factor 1 (HSF1) in the nucleus, and the downregulation of transcriptional activity of HSF1. High endogenous levels of Hsp70 have been found to be a deterrent for sensitivity to chemotherapy. We show here that resveratrol could considerably enhance the apoptosis induction in K562 cells by 17-allylamino-17-demethoxygeldanamycin, an anticancer agent that inhibits Hsp90 but augments Hsp70 levels. We conclude that resveratrol significantly downregulated Hsp70 levels through inhibition of HSF1 transcriptional activity and appreciably augmented the pro-apoptotic effects of 17-allylamino-17-demethoxygeldanamycin.

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