ABSTRACT: Baohuoside I (also known as Icariside II) is a flavonoid isolated from Epimedium koreanum Nakai. Although Baohuoside I exhibits anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activities, its molecular targets/pathways in human lung cancer cells are poorly understood. Therefore, in the present study, we investigated the usefulness of Baohuoside I as a potential apoptosis-inducing cytotoxic agent using human adenocarcinoma alveolar basal epithelial A549 cells as in vitro model. The apoptosis induced by Baohuoside I in A549 cells was confirmed by annexin V/propidium iodide double staining, cell cycle analysis and dUTP nick end labeling. Further research revealed that Baohuoside I accelerated apoptosis through the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway, involving the increment of BAX/Bcl-2 ratio, dissipation of mitochondrial membrane potential, transposition of cytochrome c, caspase 3 and caspase 9 activation, degradation of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase and the over-production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). A pan-caspase inhibitor, Z-VAD-FMK, only partially prevented apoptosis induced by Baohuoside I, while NAC, a scavenger of ROS, diminished its effect more potently. In addition, the apoptotic effect of Baohuoside I was dependent on the activation of ROS downstream effectors, JNK and p38(MAPK), which could be almost abrogated by using inhibitors SB203580 (an inhibitor of p38(MAPK)) and SP600125 (an inhibitor of JNK). These findings suggested that Baohuoside I might exert its cytotoxic effect via the ROS/MAPK pathway.
Chemico-biological interactions 06/2012; 199(1):9-17. · 2.46 Impact Factor