Apigenin-induced apoptosis is mediated by reactive oxygen species and activation of ERK1/2 in rheumatoid fibroblast-like synoviocytes.
Chem Biol Interact. 2009 Nov 10;182(1):29-36. Epub 2009 Aug 6. PMID: 19647729
Bio/Molecular Informatics Center, Konkuk University, 1 Hwayang-dong, Kwangjin-gu, Seoul 143-701, Republic of Korea.
Fibroblast-like synovial cells play a crucial role in the pathophysiology of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), as these cells are involved in inflammation and joint destruction. Apigenin, a dietary plant-flavonoid, is known to have many functions in animal cells including anti-proliferative and anticancer activities, but its role in human rheumatoid arthritis fibroblast-like synoviocytes (RA-FLSs) has not been reported. In this study, we investigated the roles of apigenin in RA-FLSs. The survival rate decreased, and apoptotic cell death was induced by apigenin treatment in RA-FLSs. Apigenin treatment resulted in activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) ERK1/2, and pretreatment with an ERK inhibitor PD98059 dramatically reduced apigenin-induced apoptosis. We found that apigenin-mediated production of a large amount of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) caused activation of ERK1/2 and apoptosis; treatment with the antioxidant Tiron strongly inhibited the apigenin-induced generation of ROS, phosphorylation of ERK1/2, and apoptotic cell death. Apigenin-induced apoptotic cell death was mediated through activation of the effectors caspase-3 and caspase-7, and was blocked by pretreatment with Z-VAD-FMK (a pan-caspase inhibitor). These results showed that apigenin-induced ROS and oxidative stress-activated ERK1/2 caused apoptotic cell death in apigenin-treated RA-FLSs.