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FEBS Lett. 2008 May 28;582(12):1667-71. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2008.04.021. Epub 2008 Apr 22.

Alpha-lipoic acid induces apoptosis in hepatoma cells via the PTEN/Akt pathway.

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Department of Biochemistry, Shanghai Medical College of Fudan University, Free Radical Research Center of Fudan University, Shanghai 200032, PR China.


We report here that alpha-lipoic acid (alpha-LA), a naturally-occurring antioxidant, scavenges reactive oxygen species (ROS) followed by an increase in apoptosis of human hepatoma cells. Apoptosis induced by alpha-LA was dependent upon the activation of the caspase cascade and the mitochondrial death pathway. alpha-LA induced increases in caspase-9 and caspase-3 but had no significant effect on caspase-8 activity. Apoptosis induced by alpha-LA was found to be mediated through the tensin homologue deleted on chromosome 10 (PTEN)/Akt pathway. Prior to cell apoptosis, PTEN was activated and its downstream target Akt was inhibited. Our findings indicate that increasing ROS scavenging could be a therapeutic strategy to treat cancer.

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