Send to

Choose Destination
PLoS One. 2017 Feb 13;12(2):e0172228. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0172228. eCollection 2017.

Honokiol induces reactive oxygen species-mediated apoptosis in Candida albicans through mitochondrial dysfunction.

Author information

Department of Pharmacology, Medical School of Southeast University, Nanjing, China.
Department of Pathology and Pathophysiology, Medical School of Southeast University, Nanjing, China.
Key Laboratory of Developmental Genes and Human Disease in Ministry of Education, Medical School of Southeast University, Nanjing, China.



To investigate the effects of honokiol on induction of reactive oxygen species (ROS), antioxidant defense systems, mitochondrial dysfunction, and apoptosis in Candida albicans.


To measure ROS accumulation, 2',7'-dichlorofluorescein diacetate fluorescence was used. Lipid peroxidation was assessed using both fluorescence staining and a thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) assay. Protein oxidation was determined using dinitrophenylhydrazine derivatization. Antioxidant enzymatic activities were measured using commercially available detection kits. Superoxide dismutase (SOD) genes expression was measured using real time RT-PCR. To assess its antifungal abilities and effectiveness on ROS accumulation, honokiol and the SOD inhibitor N,N'-diethyldithiocarbamate (DDC) were used simultaneously. Mitochondrial dysfunction was assessed by measuring the mitochondrial membrane potential (mtΔψ). Honokiol-induced apoptosis was assessed using an Annexin V-FITC apoptosis detection kit.


ROS, lipid peroxidation, and protein oxidation occurred in a dose-dependent manner in C. albicans after honokiol treatment. Honokiol caused an increase in antioxidant enzymatic activity. In addition, honokiol treatment induced SOD genes expression in C. albicans cells. Moreover, addition of DDC resulted in increased endogenous ROS levels and potentiated the antifungal activity of honokiol. Mitochondrial dysfunction was confirmed by measured changes to mtΔψ. The level of apoptosis increased in a dose-dependent manner after honokiol treatment.


Collectively, these results indicate that honokiol acts as a pro-oxidant in C. albicans. Furthermore, the SOD inhibitor DDC can be used to potentiate the activity of honokiol against C. albicans.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center