Deoxyelephantopin (DET), one of the major sesquiterpene lactones derived from Elephantopus scaber was reported to possess numerous pharmacological functions. This study aimed to assess the apoptosis inducing effects and cell cycle arrest by DET followed by elucidation of the mechanisms underlying cell death in HCT116 cells. The anticancer activity of DET was evaluated by a MTT assay. Morphological and biochemical changes were detected by Hoescht 33342/PI and Annexin V/PI staining. The results revealed that DET and isodeoxyelephantopin (isoDET) could be isolated from the ethyl acetate fraction of E. scaber leaves via a bioassay-guided approach. DET induced significant dose- and time-dependent growth inhibition of HCT116 cells. Characteristics of apoptosis including nuclear morphological changes and externalization of phosphatidylserine were observed. DET also significantly resulted in the activation of caspase-3 and PARP cleavage. Additionally, DET induced cell cycle arrest at the S phase along with dose-dependent upregulation of p21 and phosphorylated p53 protein expression. DET dose-dependently downregulated cyclin D1, A2, B1, E2, CDK4 and CDK2 protein expression. In conclusion, our data showed that DET induced apoptosis and cell cycle arrest in HCT116 colorectal carcinoma, suggesting that DET has potential as an anticancer agent for colorectal carcinoma.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.