In vitro suppression of growth of murine WEHI-3 leukemia cells and in vivo promotion of phagocytosis in a leukemia mice model by indole-3-carbinol.
ABSTRACT Indole-3-carbinol (I3C), a potential anticancer substance, can be found in cruciferous (cabbage family) vegetables, mainly cauliflower and Chinese cabbage. However, the bioactivity of I3C on the apoptotic effects of murine leukemia WEHI-3 cells and promotion of immune responses in leukemia mice model are unclear. In this study, we investigated the effect of I3C on cell-cycle arrest and apoptosis in vitro and immunomodulation in vivo. I3C decreased the viable WEHI-3 cells and caused morphological changes in a concentration- and time-dependent manner. I3C also led to G0/G1 phase arrest, decreased the levels of cyclin A, cyclin D, and CDK2, and increased the level of p21(WAF1/CIP1). Flow cytometric analyses further proved that I3C promoted ROS and intracellular Ca(2+) production and decreased the levels of ΔΨ(m) in WEHI-3 cells. Cells after exposure to I3C for 24 h showed DNA fragmentation and chromatin condensation. Comet assay also indicated that I3C induced DNA damage in examined cells. I3C increased the levels of cytochrome c, FADD, GADD153, GRP78, and caspase-12 as well as induced activities of caspase-3, -8, and -9. Moreover, I3C attenuated NF-κB DNA binding activity in I3C-treated WEHI-3 cells as shown by EMSA and Western blotting analyses. In the in vivo study, we examined the effects of I3C on WEHI-3 leukemia mice. Results showed that I3C increased the level of T cells and decreased the level of macrophages. I3C also reduced the weights of liver and spleen, and it promoted phagocytosis by macrophages as compared to the nontreated leukemia mice group. On the basis of our results, I3C affects murine leukemia WEHI-3 cells both in vitro and in vivo.