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Current Molecular Medicine


ISSN (Print): 1566-5240
ISSN (Online): 1875-5666

Research Article

Excessive Oxidative Stress in the Synergistic Effects of Shikonin on the Hyperthermia-Induced Apoptosis

Author(s): J.-L. Piao, Y.-J. Jin, M.-L. Li, S.A. Zakki, L. Sun, Q.-W. Feng, D. Zhou, T. Kondo, Z.-G. Cui* and H. Inadera*

Volume 18 , Issue 5 , 2018

Page: [322 - 334] Pages: 13

DOI: 10.2174/1566524018666181024161704

Price: $65


Background: Hyperthermia (HT) has been used widely for cancer therapy, and the development of modern devices has made it more efficient. Shikonin (SHK) is a natural naphthoquinone derivative from a Chinese herb. Although the anticancer properties of SHK are evident, the underlying molecular mechanisms are not fully understood.

Objective: In this study, the effects of combining low doses of SHK with mild HT were investigated in the U937 cell line.

Methods: The cells were subjected to HT at 44°C for 10 min with or without SHK pretreatment, and parameters reflecting apoptosis, ROS generation and intracellular calcium elevation were evaluated by using DNA fragmentation, flow cytometry, and western blot analyses.

Results: SHK 0.5 µM significantly enhanced HT-induced apoptosis as indicated by DNA fragmentation and caspase-3 activation with increased generation of ROS and elevation of intracellular calcium. The combined treatment also synergistically activated proapoptotic proteins and inactivated anti-apoptotic proteins. Furthermore, the phosphorylation of JNK and PKC- δ and the dephosphorylation of ERK and AKT were the upstream effects that may have compounded the induction of apoptosis. The modulatory effects of HT and SHK were abrogated with the employment of NAC and JNK-IN-8 by inactivating the MAPK pathway and cleavage of caspase-3. Intracellular calcium was also elevated and was found to be responsible for the induction of cell death evident by the DNA fragmentation with or without the employment of BAPTA-AM.

Conclusion: Conclusively, this study provides persuasive evidence that SHK in combination with HT is a propitious therapeutic way for augmentation of apoptosis and hence suggest a novel strategy for treating cancers.

Keywords: Hyperthermia, shikonin, cancer, apoptosis, JNK, PKC-δ, Ca2+.

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