Purpose: Andrographolide is a diterpenoid lactone isolated from Andrographis paniculata (King of Bitters), an herbal medicine used in Asia. It has been reported to have anti-inflammatory, antihypertensive, antiviral, and immune-stimulant properties. Furthermore, it has been shown to inhibit cancer cell proliferation and induce apoptosis in leukemia and solid tumor cell lines.
Experimental design: We studied the Burkitt p53-mutated Ramos cell line, the mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) line Granta, the follicular lymphoma (FL) cell line HF-1, and the diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) cell line SUDHL4, as well as primary cells from patients with FL, DLBCL, and MCL.
Results: We found that andrographolide resulted in dose- and time-dependent cell death as measured by MTT. Andrographolide significantly increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in all cell lines. To determine mechanism of cell death, we measured apoptosis by Annexin V/propidium iodide in the presence and absence of the antioxidant N-acetyl-l-cysteine (NAC), the glutathione (GSH)-depleting agent buthionine sulfoxamine (BSO), or caspase inhibitors. We found that apoptosis was greatly enhanced by BSO, blocked by NAC, and accompanied by poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase cleavage and activation of caspase-3, caspase-8, and caspase-9. We measured BAX conformational change and mitochondrial membrane potential, and using mouse embryonic fibroblast (MEF) Bax/Bak double knockouts (MEF(Bax-/-/Bak-/-)), we found that apoptosis was mediated through mitochondrial pathways, but dependent on caspases in both cell lines and patient samples.
Conclusions: Andrographolide caused ROS-dependent apoptosis in lymphoma cell lines and in primary tumor samples, which was enhanced by depletion of GSH and inhibited by NAC or the pan-caspase inhibitor Z-VAD-FMK. Further studies of diterpenoid lactones in lymphoma are warranted.