The therapeutic goal of cancer treatment is now geared towards triggering tumour-selective cell death with autophagic cell death being required for the chemotherapy of apoptosis-resistant cancer. In this study, Carnosic acid (CA), a polyphenolic diterpene isolated from Rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis), significantly induced autophagic cell death in HepG2 cells. Ca treatment caused the formation of autophagic vacuoles produced an increasing ratio of LC3-II to LC3-I in a time- and dose-dependent manner but had no effect on the levels of autophagy-related protein ATG6 and ATG13 expression. Autophagy inhibitors, 3-methyladenine (3-MA), chloroquine and bafilomycin A1, or ATG genes silencing in HepG2 cells significantly inhibited CA-induced autophagic cell death. The CA treatment decreased the levels of phosphorylated Akt and mTOR without any effects on PI3K or PTEN. Most importantly, overexpression of Akt and knockdown of PTEN attenuated autophagy induction in CA-treated cells. Taken together, our results indicated that CA induced autophagic cell death through inhibition of the Akt/mTOR pathway in human hepatoma cells. These findings suggest that CA has a great potential for the treatment of hepatoma via autophagic induction.
Keywords: ATG; Akt; autophagy; carnosic acid; hepatoma; proliferation.
Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.