Sesamin induces A549 cell mitophagy and mitochondrial apoptosis via a reactive oxygen species-mediated reduction in mitochondrial membrane potential

Korean J Physiol Pharmacol. 2020 May 1;24(3):223-232. doi: 10.4196/kjpp.2020.24.3.223.


Sesamin, a lipid-soluble lignin originally isolated from sesame seeds, which induces cancer cell apoptosis and autophagy. In the present study, has been reported that sesamin induces apoptosis via several pathways in human lung cancer cells. However, whether mitophagy is involved in sesamin induced lung cancer cell apotosis remains unclear. This study, the anticancer activity of sesamin in lung cancer was studied by reactive oxygen species (ROS) and mitophagy. A549 cells were treated with sesamin, and cell viability, migration ability, and cell cycle were assessed using the CCK8 assay, scratch-wound test, and flow cytometry, respectively. ROS levels, mitochondrial membrane potential, and apoptosis were examined by flow cytometric detection of DCFH-DA fluorescence and by using JC-1 and TUNEL assays. The results indicated that sesamin treatment inhibited the cell viability and migration ability of A549 cells and induced G0/G1 phase arrest. Furthermore, sesamin induced an increase in ROS levels, a reduction in mitochondrial membrane potential, and apoptosis accompanied by an increase in cleaved caspase-3 and cleaved caspase-9. Additionally, sesamin triggered mitophagy and increased the expression of PINK1 and translocation of Parkin from the cytoplasm to the mitochondria. However, the antioxidant N-acetyl-L-cysteine clearly reduced the oxidative stress and mitophagy induced by sesamin. Furthermore, we found that cyclosporine A (an inhibitor of mitophagy) decreased the inhibitory effect of sesamin on A549 cell viability. Collectively, our data indicate that sesamin exerts lethal effects on lung cancer cells through the induction of ROS-mediated mitophagy and mitochondrial apoptosis.

Keywords: Apoptosis; Lung cancer; Mitophagy; Reactive oxygen species; Sesamin.