Inductions of Caspase-, MAPK- and ROS-dependent Apoptosis and Chemotherapeutic Effects Caused by an Ethanol Extract of Scutellaria barbata D. Don in Human Gastric Adenocarcinom Cells

J Pharmacopuncture. 2016 Jun;19(2):129-36. doi: 10.3831/KPI.2016.19.014.


Objectives: The crude extracts of Scutellaria barbata D. Don (SB) have traditionally demonstrated inhibitory effects on numerous human cancers both in vitro and in vivo. Gastric cancer is one of the most common types of cancer on world. The authors investigated the effects of an ethanol extract of Scutellaria barbata D. Don (ESB) on the growth and survival of MKN-45 cells (a human gastric adenocarcinoma cell line).

Methods: The MKN-45 cells were treated with different concentrations of ESB, and cell death was examined using an MTT (3-[4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide) assay. Analyses of sub-G1 peaks, caspase-3 and -9 activities, and mitochondrial membrane depolarizations were conducted to determine the anti-cancer effects of SB on MKN-45 cells. Also, intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation was investigated.

Results: ESB inhibited the growth of MKN-45 cells, caused cell cycle arrest, and increased the sub-G1 population. In addition, ESB markedly increased mitochondrial membrane depolarization and the activities of caspase-3 and -9. ESB exerted anti-proliferative effects on MKN-45 cells by modulating the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway and by increasing the generation of ROS. Furthermore, combinations of anti-cancer drugs plus ESB suppressed cell growth more than treatments with an agent or ESB, and this was especially true for cisplatin, etoposide, and doxorubicin.

Conclusion: ESB has a dose-dependent cytotoxic effect on MKN-45 cells and this is closely associated with the induction of apoptosis. ESB-induced apoptosis is mediated by mitochondria- , caspase- and MAPK dependent pathways. In addition, ESB enhances ROS generation and increases the chemosensitivity of MKN-45 cells. These results suggest that treatment with ESB can inhibit the proliferation and promote the apoptosis of human gastric adenocarcinoma cells by modulating the caspase-, MAPK- and ROS-dependent pathway.

Keywords: Scutellaria barbata D. Don; apoptosis; human gastric adenocarcinom cell; proliferation.