Sulforaphane found to trigger apoptosis in human colon cancer cells
Sulforaphane found to trigger apoptosis in human colon cancer cells

In this study, researchers from China Medical University in Taiwan investigated the anticancer activity of sulforaphane (SFN), a plant compound present in cruciferous vegetables. The results of their study were published in The American Journal of Chinese Medicine.
  • SFN is an isothiocyanate that possesses antitumor and chemopreventive activity. However, previous studies have not yet explored its effects on human colon cancer cells.
  • The researchers used HCT 116 cells for their in vitro study.
  • They found that SFN can induce cell morphological changes and decrease the cell viability of HCT 116 cells. They used phase-contrast microscopy to observe and photograph these changes.
  • They also used flow cytometry and reported the following results:
    • SFN induced G2/M phase arrest and cell apoptosis.
    • SFN also induced the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and Ca2+.
    • SFN decreased mitochondrial membrane potential.
    • SFN increased the activities of caspase-8, -9 and -3 in HCT 116 cells.
  • When the researchers performed Western blotting, they observed that SFN increased the expression of cyclin A, cdk 2, cyclin B and Wee1, but decreased the expression of cell division cycle 25 C (Cdc25C) and cdk1, which led to G2/M phase arrest.
  • SFN also induced the release of cytochrome c and apoptosis inducing factor (AIF), which was confirmed by confocal microscopy examination.
  • They confirmed apoptotic cell death by Annexin V/PI and DAPI staining and DNA gel electrophoresis after HCT 116 cells were treated with SFN.
  • They also reported that SFN induced ER stress-associated protein expression.
Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that SFN is a novel anticancer agent that can be used to treat human colon cancer in the future. Journal Reference: Liu KC, Shih TY, Kuo CL, Ma YS, Yang JL, Wu PP, Huang YP, Lai KC, Chung JG. SULFORAPHANE INDUCES CELL DEATH THROUGH G2/M PHASE ARREST AND TRIGGERS APOPTOSIS IN HCT 116 HUMAN COLON CANCER CELLS. The American Journal of Chinese Medicine. 2016;44(06):1289–1310. DOI: 10.1142/s0192415x16500725
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