Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is known to induce apoptosis in various types of tumor cells, but the precise mechanism by which EGCG induces apoptosis remains to be elucidated. The Fas-Fas ligand system is one of the major pathways operating in the apoptotic cascade. The aim of this study was to examine the possibility that EGCG-binding to Fas triggers the Fas-mediated apoptosis. The EGCG treatment of human monocytic leukemia U937 cells resulted in elevation of caspase 8 activity and fragmentation of caspase 8. The DNA ladder formation caused by the EGCG treatment was inhibited by the caspase 8 inhibitor. These findings suggested the involvement of the Fas-mediated cascade in the EGCG-induced apoptosis in U937 cells. Affinity chromatography revealed the binding between EGCG and Fas. Thus, the results suggest that EGCG-binding to Fas, presumably on the cell surface, triggers the Fas-mediated apoptosis in U937 cells.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.