Induction of apoptosis by puerarin in colon cancer HT-29 cells

Cancer Lett. 2006 Jul 8;238(1):53-60. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2005.06.022. Epub 2005 Aug 1.


Puerarin was isolated from Pueraria radix and has beneficial effects on cardiovascular, neurological, and hyperglycemic disorders. The current study showed that puerarin also possessed anti-cancer properties. Methyl thiazolyl tetrazolium assay (MTT) assay revealed a dose-dependent reduction of HT-29 cellular growth in response to puerarin treatment. Apoptosis was observed following treatments ;with >or=25 microM puerarin, as reflected by the appearance of the subdiploid fraction and NDA fragmentations. We then investigated effects of puerarin on expression of apoptosis-associated genes and the results revealed an increase of bax and decreases of c-myc and bcl-2. Finally, puerarin treatment significantly increased the activation of caspase-3, a key executioner of apoptosis. These findings indicate that puerarin may act as a chemopreventive and/or chemotherapeutic agent in colon cancer cells by reducing cell viability and inducing apoptosis.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / therapeutic use
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Caspase 3
  • Caspases / metabolism
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Colonic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • HT29 Cells
  • Humans
  • Isoflavones / pharmacology*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc / metabolism
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein / metabolism


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Isoflavones
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein
  • CASP3 protein, human
  • Caspase 3
  • Caspases
  • puerarin