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Anticancer Res. 2008 Mar-Apr;28(2A):833-42.

Bee venom induced cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in human cervical epidermoid carcinoma Ca Ski cells.

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Department of Nutrition, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan, ROC.


Although it has been previously reported that bee venom (BV) can induce apoptosis in many cancer cell lines, there is no information on the effect of BV on human cervical cancer cells and its molecular mechanisms of action are not fully elucidated. In this study, the possible mechanisms of apoptosis by which BV acts on human cervical cancer Ca Ski cells were investigated. BV induced morphological changes and decreased the percentage of viable Ca Ski cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Flow cytometric analysis demonstrated that BV induced the production of reactive oxygen species, increased the level of cytoplasmic Ca2+, reduced mitochondrial membrane potential which led to cytochrome c release, and promoted the activation of caspase-3 which then led to apoptosis. BV also induced an increase in the levels of Fas, p53, p21 and Bax, but a decrease in the level of Bcl-2. The activities of both caspase-8 and caspase-9 were enhanced by BV, promoting caspase-3 activation, leading to DNA fragmentation. Based on the DNA fragmentation and DAPI staining, BV-induced apoptosis was mitochondrial-dependent and caspase-dependent. BV also promoted the expression of AIF and Endo G in the Ca Ski cells. Both AIF and Endo G proteins were released from the mitochondria, and then induced apoptosis which was not through activation of caspase. In conclusion, our data demonstrated that BV-induced apoptosis occurs via a Fas receptor pathway involving mitochondrial-dependent pathways and is closely related to the level of cytoplasmic Ca2+ in Ca Ski cells.

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