Send to

Choose Destination
Apoptosis. 2014 Nov;19(11):1654-63. doi: 10.1007/s10495-014-1032-x.

Arbutin, an intracellular hydroxyl radical scavenger, protects radiation-induced apoptosis in human lymphoma U937 cells.

Author information

Department of Pathology, The 2nd Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University, Nangang District, Harbin, 150081, China.


Ionizing radiation (IR) can generate reactive oxygen species (ROS). Excessive ROS have the potential to damage cellular macromolecules including DNA, proteins, and lipids and eventually lead to cell death. In this study, we evaluated the potential of arbutin, a drug chosen from a series of traditional herbal medicine by measuring intracellular hydroxyl radical scavenging ability in X-irradiated U937 cells. Arbutin (hydroquinone-β-D-glucopyranoside), a naturally occurring glucoside of hydroquinone, has been traditionally used to treat pigmentary disorders. However, there are no reports describing the effect of arbutin on IR-induced apoptosis. We confirmed that arbutin can protect cells from apoptosis induced by X-irradiation. The combination of arbutin and X-irradiation could reduce intracellular hydroxyl radical production and prevent mitochondrial membrane potential loss. It also could down-regulate the expression of phospho-JNK, phospho-p38 in whole cell lysate and activate Bax in mitochondria. Arbutin also inhibits cytochrome C release from mitochondria to cytosol. To verify the role of JNK in X-irradiation-induced apoptosis, the cells were pretreated with a JNK inhibitor, and found that JNK inhibitor could reduce apoptosis induced by X-irradiation. Taken together, our data indicate that arbutin plays an anti-apoptotic role via decreasing intracellular hydroxyl radical production, inhibition of Bax-mitochondria pathway and activation of the JNK/p38 MAPK pathway.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center