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. 2011 Apr;38(4):941-53.
doi: 10.3892/ijo.2011.930. Epub 2011 Feb 1.

Ethanolic Extract of Brazilian Green Propolis Sensitizes Prostate Cancer Cells to TRAIL-induced Apoptosis

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Ethanolic Extract of Brazilian Green Propolis Sensitizes Prostate Cancer Cells to TRAIL-induced Apoptosis

Ewelina Szliszka et al. Int J Oncol. .

Abstract

Prostate cancer represents an ideal disease for chemopreventive intervention. Propolis possesses immuno-modulatory, anti-tumour and chemopreventive properties. The tumour necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) is an important endogenous anti-cancer agent that induces apoptosis selectively in tumour cells. However, some cancer cells are resistant to TRAIL-mediated apoptosis. Naturally occurring phenolic and polyphenolic compounds sensitize TRAIL-resistant cancer cells and augment the apoptotic activity of TRAIL. The ethanolic extract of Brazilian green propolis (EEP) is rich in phenolic components. Our in vitro results indicate the potential targets in the TRAIL-induced apoptotic pathway for the cancer chemopreventive activity of Brazilian propolis. We examined the cytotoxic and apoptotic effects of Brazilian EEP and its bioactive components in combination with TRAIL on LNCaP prostate cancer cells. The chemical composition of Brazilian green propolis was determined by high performance liquid chromatography-diode array detection. The cytotoxicity was measured by 3-[4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2,5 diphenyl-tetrazolium and lactate dehydrogenase assays. Apoptosis was detected using annexin V-FITC by flow cytometry and fluorescence microscopy. The mitochondrial membrane potential (∆Ψm) was evaluated using DePsipher staining by fluorescence microscopy. Flow cytometry was used to analyse death receptor (TRAIL-R1 and TRAIL-R2) expression in LNCaP cells. The inhibition of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) (p65) activation in cancer cells was confirmed by the ELISA-based TransAM NF-κB kit. The LNCaP cells were shown to be resistant to TRAIL-induced apoptosis. Our study demonstrates that EEP sensitizes TRAIL-resistant prostate cancer cells. The main phenolic components detected in Brazilian green propolis are artepillin C, quercetin, kaempferol and p-coumaric acid. Brazilian propolis and its bioactive components markedly augmented TRAIL-mediated apoptosis and cytotoxicity in prostate cancer cells. Brazilian EEP enhanced the expression of TRAIL-R2 and the activity of NF-κB in LNCaP cells. The co-treatment of prostate cancer cells with 100 ng/ml TRAIL and 50 µg/ml EEP increased the percentage of apoptotic cells to 65.8 ± 1.2% and caused a significant disruption of ∆Ψm in LNCaP cells. We show that Brazilian EEP helped cells overcome TRAIL resistance by engaging both intrinsic and extrinsic apoptotic pathways and regulating NF-κB activity. The data demonstrate the important role of Brazilian green propolis and its bioactive compounds in prostate cancer chemoprevention through the enhancement of TRAIL-mediated apoptosis.

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