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      Norcantharidin Induces Human Melanoma A375-S2 Cell Apoptosis through Mitochondrial and Caspase Pathways

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          Norcantharidin (NCTD) is the demethylated form of cantharidin, which is the active substance of mylabris. To examine the pathway of NCTD-induced A375-S2 cell death, 3-(4, 5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2, 5-dipheyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay, photomicroscopical observation, DNA agarose gel electrophoresis, caspase activity assay and Western blot analysis were carried out. A375-S2 cells treated with NCTD exhibited several typical characteristics of apoptosis. The inhibitory effect of NCTD on human melanoma, A375-S2 cells, was partially reversed by the inhibitors of pan-caspase, caspase-3 and caspase-9. The activities of caspase-3 and -9 were significantly increased after treatment with NCTD at different time. The expression of inhibitor of caspase-activated DNase was decreased in a time-dependent manner, simultaneously, the ratio of Bcl-2/Bax or Bcl-x L/Bax was decreased and the expression ratio of proteins could be reversed by caspase-3 inhibitor. The expression of cytochrome c in cytosol was increased after NCTD treatment and caspase-3 inhibitor had no significant effect on the up-regulation of cytochrom c. These results suggest that NCTD induced A375-S2 cell apoptosis and the activation of caspase and mitochondrial pathway were involved in the process of NCTD-induced A375-S2 cell apoptosis.

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          Most cited references 25

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          Mitochondria and apoptosis.

          A variety of key events in apoptosis focus on mitochondria, including the release of caspase activators (such as cytochrome c), changes in electron transport, loss of mitochondrial transmembrane potential, altered cellular oxidation-reduction, and participation of pro- and antiapoptotic Bcl-2 family proteins. The different signals that converge on mitochondria to trigger or inhibit these events and their downstream effects delineate several major pathways in physiological cell death.
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            Prevention of apoptosis by Bcl-2: release of cytochrome c from mitochondria blocked.

            Bcl-2 is an integral membrane protein located mainly on the outer membrane of mitochondria. Overexpression of Bcl-2 prevents cells from undergoing apoptosis in response to a variety of stimuli. Cytosolic cytochrome c is necessary for the initiation of the apoptotic program, suggesting a possible connection between Bcl-2 and cytochrome c, which is normally located in the mitochondrial intermembrane space. Cells undergoing apoptosis were found to have an elevation of cytochrome c in the cytosol and a corresponding decrease in the mitochondria. Overexpression of Bcl-2 prevented the efflux of cytochrome c from the mitochondria and the initiation of apoptosis. Thus, one possible role of Bcl-2 in prevention of apoptosis is to block cytochrome c release from mitochondria.
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              Endonuclease G is an apoptotic DNase when released from mitochondria.

               L. Li,  X. Wang,  X. Luo (2001)
              Nucleosomal fragmentation of DNA is a hallmark of apoptosis (programmed cell death), and results from the activation of nucleases in cells undergoing apoptosis. One such nuclease, DNA fragmentation factor (DFF, a caspase-activated deoxyribonuclease (CAD) and its inhibitor (ICAD)), is capable of inducing DNA fragmentation and chromatin condensation after cleavage by caspase-3 (refs 2,3,4). However, although transgenic mice lacking DFF45 or its caspase cleavage site have significantly reduced DNA fragmentation, these mice still show residual DNA fragmentation and are phenotypically normal. Here we report the identification and characterization of another nuclease that is specifically activated by apoptotic stimuli and is able to induce nucleosomal fragmentation of DNA in fibroblast cells from embryonic mice lacking DFF. This nuclease is endonuclease G (endoG), a mitochondrion-specific nuclease that translocates to the nucleus during apoptosis. Once released from mitochondria, endoG cleaves chromatin DNA into nucleosomal fragments independently of caspases. Therefore, endoG represents a caspase-independent apoptotic pathway initiated from the mitochondria.

                Author and article information

                J Korean Med Sci
                Journal of Korean Medical Science
                The Korean Academy of Medical Sciences
                August 2004
                31 August 2004
                : 19
                : 4
                : 560-566
                [* ]China-Japan Research Institute of Medical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Shenyang Pharmaceutical University, Shenyang, China.
                []Department of Pharmacology, Shenyang Pharmaceutical University, Shenyang, China.
                []Department of Clinical and Biomedical Sciences, Showa Pharmaceutical University, Tokyo, Japan.
                Author notes
                Address for correspondence: Ikejima Takashi, Ph.D. China-Japan Research Institute of Medical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Shenyang Pharmaceutical University, Shenyang 110016, China. Tel, Fax: +86.24-2384-4463, ikejimat@
                Copyright © 2004 The Korean Academy of Medical Sciences

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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