Induction of apoptosis in two human leukemia cell lines as well as differentiation in human promyelocytic cells by cyanidin-3-O-beta-glucopyranoside

Biochem Pharmacol. 2004 Jun 1;67(11):2047-56. doi: 10.1016/j.bcp.2004.02.021.


Little is known about the potentially chemopreventive mechanisms of anthocyanins apart from their antioxidant activity. We investigated the in vitro capacity of the anthocyanin cyanidin-3-O-beta-glucopyranoside (Cy-g) to induce apoptosis in T-lymphoblastoid, as well as apoptosis and differentiation in HL-60 promyelocytic cells. Although Cy-g-induced apoptosis (as well as necrosis) in the two systems, HL-60 cells were much less sensitive than T-lymphoblastoid cells. Moreover, treatment of HL-60 cells with Cy-g caused differentiation into macrophage-like cells and granulocytes. Concerning the mechanism of action, the induction of apoptosis in Jurkat T cells can be explained by a modulation of p53 and bax protein expression. At the molecular level, the induction of apoptosis and cytodifferentiation in HL-60 cells involved different proteins, thus suggesting that the effects of Cy-g on apoptosis and cytodifferentiation induction are two distinct events. These interesting biological properties should encourage further investigation into the chemopreventive and/or chemotherapeutic potential of Cy-g.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anthocyanins / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis*
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects*
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Drug Interactions
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • HL-60 Cells
  • Humans
  • Jurkat Cells
  • Leukemia, Promyelocytic, Acute / pathology
  • Phosphoinositide-3 Kinase Inhibitors
  • Protein Kinase C / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc / metabolism
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein


  • Anthocyanins
  • BAX protein, human
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Phosphoinositide-3 Kinase Inhibitors
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein
  • cyanidin-3-O-beta-glucopyranoside
  • Protein Kinase C