Induction of apoptosis by fucoidan in human leukemia U937 cells through activation of p38 MAPK and modulation of Bcl-2 family.
Mar Drugs. 2013 Jul 4 ;11(7):2347-64. Epub 2013 Jul 4. PMID: 23880928
Hyun Soo Park
The present study investigated possible mechanisms on the apoptosis induction of human leukemic cells by fucoidan, a sulfated polysaccharide found in marine algae. Fucoidan treatment of cells resulted in inhibition of growth and induction of apoptosis, as measured by 3-(4,5-dimetylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl-tetrazolium (MTT) assay, fluorescence microscopy, DNA fragmentation, and flow cytometry analysis. The increase in apoptosis was associated with the proteolytic activation of caspases, Bid cleavage, insertion of pro-apoptotic Bax into the mitochondria, release of cytochrome c from mitochondria to cytosol, and loss of mitochondria membrane potential (MMP) in U937 cells. However, apoptosis induced by fucoidan was attenuated by caspase inhibitors, indicating that fucoidan-induced apoptosis was dependent on the activation of caspases. Furthermore, fucoidan treatment effectively activated the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and p38 MAPK inhibitor, SB203580, and significantly reduced fucoidan-induced apoptosis through inhibition of Bax translocation and caspases activation, suggesting that the activation of p38 MAPK may play a key role in fucoidan-induced apoptosis. In addition, the authors found fucoidan-induced significantly attenuated in Bcl-2 overexpressing U937 cells, and pretreatment with fucoidan and HA 14-1, a small-molecule Bcl-2 inhibitor, markedly increased fucoidan-mediated apoptosis in Bcl-2 overexpressing U937 cells. Our findings imply that we may attribute some of the biological functions of p38 MAPK and Bcl-2 to their ability to inhibit fucoidan-induced apoptosis.