Cinobufagin induces autophagy-mediated cell death in human osteosarcoma U2OS cells through the ROS/JNK/p38 signaling pathway.Oncol Rep. 2016 Jul; 36(1):90-8.OR
The main objective of this study was to explore whether autophagy could be triggered by cinobufagin, and to clarify the role of autophagy in the antitumor effects of cinobufagin on U2OS cells and the underlying mechanisms. U2OS cells were exposed to 15, 30, 60 and 120 mg/l cinobufagin for 0, 12, 24 and 48 h. An MTT assay was used to measure cell viability. FITC-Annexin Ⅴ/PI staining and flow cytometry were used to analyze the apoptotic ratio, while apoptotic morphological changes were assessed by PI and Hoechst 33258 viable cell staining. The effects of autophagy on the cells were investigated with GFP-LC3b green fluorescence plasmid transfection and transmission electron microscopy. The levels of caspase-3, -8, - 9, cleaved PARP, LC3-II/LC3-I, p62 and the activation of JNK/p-38 were detected by western blot analysis. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) fluorescence intensity was examined under fluorescence microscopy with an analysis software system. Cell proliferation was obviously inhibited by cinobufagin in a dose- and time-dependent manner. The apoptosis ratio was gradually increased with treatment time as evidenced by flow cytometric analysis and Hoechst 33258 staining. Exposure to cinobufagin resulted in the activation of caspase-3, -8, -9, as well as cleaved PARP which indicated that cinobufagin induced caspase-dependent apoptosis. Autophagy was confirmed in the cinobufagin-treated cells as evidenced by formation of autophagosomes, accumulation of GFP-LC3 fluorescence particles as well as the upregulation of LC3-II/LC3-I levels. Inhibition of autophagy diminished apoptosis as detected by the MTT assays. Moreover the percentage of apoptotic cells decreased following pretreatment with 3-MA, CQ and si-beclin-1. Cinobufagin also induced phosphorylation of the JNK and p38 signaling pathway as well as ROS generation. The JNK and p38 inhibitors significantly attenuated coexistence of apoptosis and autophagy-related proteins. The ROS scavenger also prevented phosphorylation of the JNK and p38 signaling pathway. Our research proved that cinobufagin triggered apoptosis and autophagic cell death via activation of the ROS/JNK/p-38 axis.