Induction of Apoptosis and Inhibition of Cell Migration and Tube-Like Formation by Dihydroartemisinin in Murine Lymphatic Endothelial Cells

Cancer Institute of People's Liberation Army, Xinqiao Hospital, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing, PR China.
Pharmacology (Impact Factor: 1.67). 02/2007; 80(4):207-18. DOI: 10.1159/000104418
Source: PubMed


Dihydroartemisinin (DHA) is a semisynthesized agent from the artemisinin first extracted from the Chinese plant Artemisia annua. Previous studies have shown that artemisinin derivates, apart from their antimalarial activity, possess antitumor, antiangiogenic, and anti-inflammatory effects. In the present investigation, DHA was found to have a potent ability in influencing lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs) behavior. Murine LECs were isolated from benign lymphangiomas induced by intraperitoneal injection of incomplete Freund's adjuvant and identified by indirect immunofluorescence assay and fluorescence-activated cell sorting analysis to examine the expression of the specific marker VEGFR-3/Flt-4. When LECs were treated with DHA at 10 microg/ml, the growth of LECs was inhibited, and LECs showed typical apoptotic morphological features, with a higher apoptotic rate as compared with the controls. DHA also exerted a significant inhibitory effect on migration and tube-like formation of LECs in a dose-dependent manner. Quantitative RT-PCR further showed that DHA remarkably downregulated the expression of antiapoptotic bcl-2 mRNA, but upregulated that of the proapoptotic gene bax mRNA. In addition, DHA could strongly attenuate the mRNA and protein levels of VEGFR-3/Flt-4. In summary, these findings indicate that DHA may be useful as a potential lymphangiogenesis inhibitor under induction of cell apoptosis, inhibition of the migration, and formation of tube-like structures in LECs.

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    • "LECs were mixed with media collected from LLC cells, and they were subsequently treated with activated macrophage-conditioned medium for 24 h. After 24 h of incubation, the formation of tube-like structures was monitored by microscopic observation at 100× magnification, and more than 12 different fields in each well were photographed to measure the length of the tube-like structures, as described previously (14). "
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    ABSTRACT: Tumor-associated macrophages that generally exhibit an alternatively activated (M2) phenotype have been linked to tumor progression and metastasis. However, the role of M2-polarized macrophages in the growth and metastasis of lung adenocarcinoma remains enigmatic. The aim of this study was to explore the effect of M2 macrophages on the proliferation and migration of mouse Lewis lung carcinoma cells and tumor-induced lymphangiogenesis. Trypan blue staining and the Transwell migration assay were performed to evaluate the effects of activated (M1 or M2) macrophages on the proliferation and migration of Lewis cells. Furthermore, vascular endothelial growth factor-C expression in Lewis cells and nitric oxide secretion from activated macrophages were detected during the co-culture assay. Following treatment with activated macrophages, lymphatic endothelial cells differentiated into capillary-like structures, and the induction of Lewis cell migration was assessed using a twodimensional Matrigel-based assay. In the co-culture Transwell system, the proliferation and migration of Lewis cells were promoted by M2 macrophages. Moreover, the co-culture significantly increased the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor-C by Lewis cells and reduced the secretion of nitric oxide from M2 macrophages, which subsequently led to the capillary morphogenesis of lymphatic endothelial cells. Interestingly, following co-culture with Lewis cells, the function of RAW264.7 cells was polarized toward that of the M2 macrophage phenotype. M2-polarized macrophages promoted the metastatic behavior of Lewis cells by inducing vascular endothelial growth factor-C expression. Thus, the interruption of signaling between M2 macrophages and Lewis cells may be considered to be a new therapeutic strategy.
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    • "Hoechst33258 and PI staining as well as flow cytometry analysis showed that DHA significantly induced apoptosis of ASTC-a-1 cells (Fig. 2 and Fig. 3). The concentration of DHA used in our study was below its clinical dosage, which was usually used for treating of malaria [34]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Dihydroartemisinin (DHA), a semi-synthetic derivative of artemisinin, isolated from the traditional Chinese herb Artemisia annua, is recommended as the first-line anti-malarial drug with low toxicity. DHA has been shown to possess promising anticancer activities and induce cancer cell death through apoptotic pathways, although the molecular mechanisms are not well understood. In this study, cell counting kit (CCK-8) assay was employed to evaluate the survival of DHA-treated ASTC-a-1 cells. The induction of apoptosis was detected by Hoechst 33258 and PI staining as well as flow cytometry analysis. Collapse of mitochondrial transmembrane potential (DeltaPsim) was measured by dynamic detection under a laser scanning confocal microscope and flow cytometry analysis using Rhodamine123. Caspase-3 activities measured with or without Z-VAD-fmk (a broad spectrum caspase inhibitor) pretreatment by FRET techniques, caspase-3 activity measurement, and western blotting analysis. Our results indicated that DHA induced apoptotic cell death in a dose- and time-dependent manner, which was accompanied by mitochondrial morphology changes, the loss of DeltaPsim and the activation of caspase-3. These results show for the first time that DHA can inhibit proliferation and induce apoptosis via caspase-3-dependent mitochondrial death pathway in ASTC-a-1 cells. Our work may provide evidence for further studies of DHA as a possible anticancer drug in the clinical treatment of lung adenocarcinoma.
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