Silibinin induced apoptosis of human epidermal cancer A431 cells by promoting mitochondrial NOS.
Free Radic Res. 2019 Jul ;53(7):714-726. Epub 2019 Jul 3. PMID: 30947567
The antitumor effects of silibinin are of increasing interest, though its mechanism is not yet clear. The goal of this study was to clarify the mechanism of silibinin-induced cell death in the A431 human epidermoid carcinoma cell line. We used a cell viability assay, flow cytometry, nitric oxide (NO) assay, and western blotting to examine relationships between silibinin, NO generation and apoptosis in A431 cells. Silibinin inhibited A431 cell growth in a dose-dependent manner, inducing mitochondrial damage, and apoptosis at a high dose. At the same time, high dose silibinin increased NO levels in A431 cells and the endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) inhibitor NG-nitro-L-arginine methylester (L-NAME) attenuated silibinin-induced cell growth inhibition. By western blotting, silibinin caused increased eNOS phosphorylation in the mitochondria. The AMP-activated protein kinase inhibitor compound C significantly decreased p-eNOS expression, while blocking eNOS did not affect p-AMPK levels, suggested that AMPK acted upstream of eNOS. This study showed that silibinin increased NO levels in A431 cells by activating the AMPK-eNOS pathway, leading to mitochondrial dysfunction and apoptosis. In this mechanism of action, mitochondrial eNOS played an important role. The results provided new understanding of the functions of intracellular NO.