In this study, we investigated the effects of the flavonoid rutin (3,3',4',5,7-pentahydroxyflavone-3-rutinoside) on glioma cells, using the highly proliferative human cell line GL-15 as a model. We observed that rutin (50-100μM) reduced proliferation and viability of GL-15 cells, leading to decreased levels of ERK1/2 phosphorylation (P-ERK1/2) and accumulation of cells in the G2 phase of the cell cycle. On the other hand, 87.4% of GL-15 cells exposed to 100μM rutin entered apoptosis, as revealed by flow cytometry after AnnexinV/PI staining. Nuclear condensation and DNA fragmentation were also observed, further confirming that apoptosis had occurred. Moreover, the remaining cells that were treated with 50μM rutin presented a morphological pattern of astroglial differentiation in culture, characterised by a condensed cell body and thin processes with overexpression of GFAP. Because of its capacity to induce differentiation and apoptosis in cultured human glioblastoma cells, rutin could be considered as a potential candidate for malignant gliomas treatment.
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