Auraptene, a Major Compound of Supercritical Fluid Extract of Phalsak (Citrus Hassaku Hort ex Tanaka), Induces Apoptosis through the Suppression of mTOR Pathways in Human Gastric Cancer SNU-1 Cells

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:402385. doi: 10.1155/2015/402385. Epub 2015 Aug 13.


The supercritical extraction method is a widely used process to obtain volatile and nonvolatile compounds by avoiding thermal degradation and solvent residue in the extracts. In search of phytochemicals with potential therapeutic application in gastric cancer, the supercritical fluid extract (SFE) of phalsak (Citrus hassaku Hort ex Tanaka) fruits was analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Compositional analysis in comparison with the antiproliferative activities of peel and flesh suggested auraptene as the most prominent anticancer compound against gastric cancer cells. SNU-1 cells were the most susceptible to auraptene-induced toxicity among the tested gastric cancer cell lines. Auraptene induced the death of SNU-1 cells through apoptosis, as evidenced by the increased cell population in the sub-G1 phase, the appearance of fragmented nuclei, the proteolytic cleavage of caspase-3 and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) protein, and depolarization of the mitochondrial membrane. Interestingly, auraptene induces an increase in the phosphorylation of Akt, which is reminiscent of the effect of rapamycin, the mTOR inhibitor that triggers a negative feedback loop on Akt/mTOR pathway. Taken together, these findings provide valuable insights into the anticancer effects of the SFE of the phalsak peel by revealing that auraptene, the major compound of it, induced apoptosis in accompanied with the inhibition of mTOR in SNU-1 cells.