6-(methylsulfinyl) hexyl isothiocyanate (6-MITC) is a naturally occurring compound isolated from Wasabia japonica (wasabi). The synthetic derivatives, 6-(methylsulfenyl) hexyl isothiocyanate (I7447) and 6-(methylsulfonyl) hexyl isothiocyanate (I7557), were derived from 6-MITC with the deletion and addition of oxygen, respectively. We aimed to evaluate the effect of these synthetic compounds on human oral cancer cells, SAS and OECM-1. All three compounds (I7447, 6-MITC, and I7557) inhibited the viability of SAS and OECM-1 cells using MTT assay. Morphological observations showed various proportions of mitotic arrest and apoptosis in cells treated with these compounds. Cell cycle analysis revealed relatively abundant G2/M arrest in 6-MITC and I7557-treated cells, whereas sub-G1 accumulation was found in I7447-treated cells. In using phosphorylated histone H3 as a marker for mitosis, the addition of 6-MITC and I7557 (excluding I7447) could be shown to arrest cells during mitosis. In contrast, I7447 induced more prominent apoptosis than the 6-MITC or I7557 compounds. The down-regulated expression of the phosphorylated form of CHK1 and Cdc25c was noted in 6-MITC and I7557-treated cells. I7557 could sensitize SAS cells to death by radiation. The wasabi compound, 6-MITC, and its chemical derivatives with different numbers of oxygen may have differential pharmacological effects on human oral cancer cells.
Keywords: 6-MITC; I7447; I7557; apoptosis; mitosis; oral cancer; wasabi.