Hesperidin induces apoptosis and triggers autophagic markers through inhibition of Aurora-A mediated phosphoinositide-3-kinase/Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin and glycogen synthase kinase-3 beta signalling cascades in experimental colon carcinogenesis

Eur J Cancer. 2014 Sep;50(14):2489-507. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2014.06.013. Epub 2014 Jul 18.


Abnormalities in the homeostasis mechanisms involved in cell survival and apoptosis are contributing factors for colon carcinogenesis. Interventions of these mechanisms by pharmacologically safer agents gain predominance in colon cancer prevention. We previously reported the chemopreventive efficacy of hesperidin against colon carcinogenesis. In the present study, we aimed at investigating the potential of hesperidin over the abrogated Aurora-A coupled pro-survival phosphoinositide-3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt signalling cascades. Further, the role of hesperidin over apoptosis and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) mediated autophagic responses were studied. Azoxymethane (AOM) induced mouse model of colon carcinogenesis was involved in this study. Hesperidin treatment was provided either in initiation/post-initiation mode respectively. Hesperidin significantly altered AOM mediated anti-apoptotic scenario by modulating Bax/Bcl-2 ratio together with enhanced cytochrome-c release and caspase-3, 9 activations. In addition, hesperidin enhanced p53-p21 axis with concomitant decrease in cell cycle regulator. Hesperidin treatment caused significant up-regulation of tumour suppressor phosphatase and tensin homologue (PTEN) with a reduction in the expression of AOM mediated p-PI3K and p-Akt. Additionally, hesperidin administration exhibited inhibition against p-mTOR expression which in turn led to stimulation of autophagic markers Beclin-1 and LC3-II. Aurora-A an upstream regulator of PI3K/Akt pathway was significantly inhibited by hesperidin. Furthermore, hesperidin administration restored glycogen synthase kinase-3 beta (GSK-3β) activity which in turn prevented the accumulation of oncoproteins β-catenin, c-jun and c-myc. Taken together, hesperidin supplementation initiated apoptosis via targeted inhibition of constitutively activated Aurora-A mediated PI3K/Akt/GSK-3β and mTOR pathways coupled with autophagic stimulation against AOM induced colon carcinogenesis.

Keywords: Apoptosis; Aurora-A; Autophagy; Colon cancer; GSK-3β; PI3K; mTOR.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Aurora Kinase A / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Aurora Kinase A / metabolism
  • Autophagy / drug effects
  • Carcinogenesis / drug effects
  • Carcinogenesis / metabolism
  • Colonic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 / metabolism*
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 beta
  • Hesperidin / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Up-Regulation


  • Hesperidin
  • Aurora Kinase A
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 beta
  • Gsk3b protein, mouse
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3