Aquaporin-1 (AQP1), a transmembrane pore-forming molecule, facilitates the rapid movement of water and small solutes across cell membranes. We have previously shown that bacopaside II, an extract from the medicinal herb Bacopa monnieri, blocks the AQP1 water channel and impairs migration of cells that express AQP1. The aim of this study was to further elucidate the anti-tumour potential of bacopaside II in colon cancer cells. Expression of AQP1 in HT-29, SW480, SW620 and HCT116 was determined by quantitative PCR and western immunoblot. Cells were treated with bacopaside II, and morphology, growth, autophagy, cell cycle and apoptosis assessed by time-lapse microscopy, crystal violet, acridine orange, propidium iodide (PI) and annexin V/PI staining respectively. AQP1 expression was significantly higher in HT-29 than SW480, SW620 and HCT116. Bacopaside II significantly reduced growth at ≥20 µM for HT-29 and ≥15 µM for SW480, SW620 and HCT116. Inhibition of HT-29 at 20 µM was primarily mediated by G0/G1 cell cycle arrest, and at 30 µM by G2/M arrest and apoptosis. Inhibition of SW480, SW620 and HCT116 at ≥15 µM was mediated by G2/M arrest and apoptosis. These results are the first to show that bacopaside II inhibits colon cancer cell growth by inducing cell cycle arrest and apoptosis.
Keywords: Bacopa monnieri; anti-tumour agents; apoptosis; aquaporin-1; bacopaside II; cell cycle arrest; colorectal cancer.