Caspase-3/MAPK pathways as main regulators of the apoptotic effect of the phyto-mediated synthesized silver nanoparticle from dried stem of Eleutherococcus senticosus in human cancer cells

Biomed Pharmacother. 2018 Mar:99:128-133. doi: 10.1016/j.biopha.2018.01.050. Epub 2018 Jan 10.


Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) was used for the synthesis of an ecofriendly silver nanoparticle (Sg-AgNP), which has exhibited antibacterial, antioxidant effect and lower cytotoxicity to normal cells in comparison to human cancer cells. Although, the potential anticancer activity of Sg-AgNP has not been determined. In this study, two cancer cell lines were used to evaluate the cytotoxicity and apoptotic effect of Sg-AgNP along with the determination of the role of the Caspase-3 / p38 MAPK pathways. Results shown that Sg-AgNP reduced the cell viability of colon cancer cells HT29 and lung cancer cells A549. The cytotoxic effect was higher than the effect exhibited by a commercial silver nanoparticle and Cisplatin. Reactive oxygen species were observed to be superior in both cell lines in the presence of Sg-AgNPs than c-AgNPs and Cisplatin. It was observed an activation of MAPK14 gene and phosphorylation of p38 MAPK protein in both cell lines induced by Sg-AgNPs treatment. Furthermore, induction of morphological changes in the nucleus was done by Sg-AgNPs at 10 μg/mL in both cell lines. On the other hands, the activation of CASP3 gene and Caspase-3 protein was observed in HT29 cells but only at protein level in A549 cells. These results, suggest that Sg-AgNPs anticancer potential activity might be linked to the induction of apoptosis though the generation of ROS by activation of the Caspase-3/p38 MAPK pathway.

Keywords: Anticancer; Apoptosis; MAPK pathway; Siberian ginseng; Silver nanoparticles.

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Caspase 3 / metabolism*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Eleutherococcus / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System / drug effects*
  • Metal Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Silver / pharmacology*


  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Silver
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Caspase 3