Carnosic acid inhibits STAT3 signaling and induces apoptosis through generation of ROS in human colon cancer HCT116 cells.
Mol Carcinog. 2015 Jul 8. Epub 2015 Jul 8. PMID: 26152521
Carnosic acid (CA), the main antioxidant compound of Rosmarinus officinalis L., has been reported to possess anticancer activity. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the anticancer effects of CA remain poorly understood. Our study revealed that CA treatment significantly reduced the viability of human colon cancer HCT116, SW480, and HT-29 cells. Treatment with CA induced apoptosis, which was associated with the induction of p53 and Bax, inhibition of Mdm2, Bcl-2, and Bcl-xl expression, activation of caspase-9, and -3, and the cleavage of PARP in HCT116 cells. CA inhibited the constitutive phosphorylation, the DNA binding and the reporter gene activity of STAT3 in HCT116 cells by blocking the phosphorylation of upstream JAK2 and Src kinases. Moreover, CA attenuated the expression of STAT3 target gene products, such as survivin, cyclin D1, D2, and D3. In STAT3-overexpressed HCT116 cells, CA inhibited cell viability and the expression of cyclin D1 and survivin. Furthermore, CA treatment induced the generation of ROS in these colon cancer cells. Pretreatment of cells with ROS scavenger N-acetyl cysteine abrogated the inhibitory effect of CA on the JAK2-STAT3/Src-STAT3 signaling and rescued cells from CA-induced apoptosis by blocking the induction of p53 and the cleavage of caspase-3 and PARP in HCT116 cells. However, L-buthionine-sulfoximine, a pharmacological inhibitor of GSH synthesis, increased CA-induced ROS production, thereby potentiating apoptotic effect of CA. In conclusion, our study provides the first report that CA induced apoptosis in HCT116 cells via generation of ROS, induction of p53, activation of caspases, and inhibition of STAT3 signaling pathway.© 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.