Shikonin Induces Apoptosis, Necrosis, and Premature Senescence of Human A549 Lung Cancer Cells through Upregulation of p53 Expression.
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015 ;2015:620383. Epub 2015 Feb 9. PMID: 25737737
Shikonin, a natural naphthoquinone pigment isolated from Lithospermum erythrorhizon, has been reported to suppress growth of various cancer cells. This study was aimed to investigate whether this chemical could also inhibit cell growth of lung cancer cells and, if so, works via what molecular mechanism. To fulfill this, A549 lung cancer cells were treated with shikonin and then subjected to microscopic, biochemical, flow cytometric, and molecular analyses. Compared with the controls, shikonin significantly induced cell apoptosis and reduced proliferation in a dose-dependent manner. Specially, lower concentrations of shikonin (1-2.5 μg/mL) cause viability reduction; apoptosis and cellular senescence induction is associated with upregulated expressions of cell cycle- and apoptotic signaling-regulatory proteins, while higher concentrations (5-10 μg/mL) precipitate both apoptosis and necrosis. Treatment of cells with pifithrin-α, a specific inhibitor of p53, suppressed shikonin-induced apoptosis and premature senescence, suggesting the role of p53 in mediating the actions of shikonin on regulation of lung cancer cell proliferation. These results indicate the potential and dose-related cytotoxic actions of shikonin onA549 lung cancer cells via p53-mediated cell fate pathways and raise shikonin a promising adjuvant chemotherapeutic agent for treatment of lung cancer in clinical practice.