Agarol, an ergosterol derivative from Agaricus blazei, induces caspase-independent apoptosis in human cancer cells

Takamitsu Shimizu, Junya Kawai, Kenji Ouchi, Haruhisa Kikuchi, Yoshiteru Osima, Rikiishi Hidemi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Agaricus blazei (A. blazei) is a mushroom with many biological effects and active ingredients. We purified a tumoricidal substance from A. blazei, an ergosterol derivative, and named it 'Agarol'. Cytotoxic effects of Agarol were determined by the MTT assay using A549, MKN45, HSC-3, and HSC-4 human carcinoma cell lines treated with Agarol. Apoptosis was detected by flow cytometry analysis. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels and mitochondria membrane potential (Δψm) were also determined by flow cytometry. Western blot analysis was used to quantify the expression of apoptosis-related proteins. Agarol predominantly induced apoptosis in two p53-wild cell lines (A549 and MKN45) compared to the other p53-mutant cell lines (HSC-3 and HSC-4). Further mechanistic studies revealed that induction of apoptosis is associated with increased generation of ROS, reduced Δψm, release of apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) from the mitochondria to the cytosol, upregulation of Bax, and downregulation of Bcl-2. Caspase-3 activities did not increase, and z-VAD-fmk, a caspase inhibitor, did not inhibit the Agarol-induced apoptosis. These findings indicate that Agarol induces caspase-independent apoptosis in human carcinoma cells through a mitochondrial pathway. The in vivo anticancer activity of Agarol was confirmed in a xenograft murine model. This study suggests a molecular mechanism by which Agarol induces apoptosis in human carcinoma cells and indicates the potential use of Agarol as an anticancer agent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1670-1678
Number of pages9
JournalInternational journal of oncology
Volume48
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Apr
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Agaricus blazei
  • Agarol
  • apoptosis-inducing factor
  • caspase-independent apoptosis
  • p53
  • reactive oxygen species

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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