Plumbagin induces cell cycle arrest and apoptosis through reactive oxygen species/c-Jun N-terminal kinase pathways in human melanoma A375.S2 cells
This study is the first to investigate the anticancer effect of plumbagin in human melanoma A375.S2 cells. Plumbagin exhibited effective cell growth inhibition by inducing cancer cells to undergo S-G2/M phase arrest and apoptosis. Further investigation revealed that plumbagin's inhibition of cell growth was also evident in a nude mice model. Blockade of cell cycle was associated with increased levels of p21, and reduced amounts of cyclin B1, cyclin A, Cdc2, and Cdc25C. Plumbagin also enhanced the levels of inactivated phosphorylated Cdc2 and Cdc25C. Plumbagin triggered the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway indicated by a change in Bax/Bcl-2 ratios, resulting in caspase-9 activation. We also found the generation of ROS is a critical mediator in plumbagin-induced cell growth inhibition. Plumbagin increased the activation of apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1, JNK and extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2), but not p38. In addition, antioxidants vitamin C and catalase significantly decreased plumbagin-mediated c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) activation and apoptosis. Moreover, blocking ERK and JNK by specific inhibitors suppressed plumbagin-triggered mitochondrial apoptotic pathway. Taken together, these results imply a critical role for ROS and JNK in the plumbagin's anticancer activity.