Cancer Science & Therapy

ISSN: 1948-5956

Open Access

In vitro Assessment of Oxidative Stress and Apoptotic Mechanisms of Garlic Extract in the Treatment of Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia


Clement G. Yedjou and Paul B. Tchounwou

Introduction:Garlic supplementation in diet has been shown to be beneficial to cancer patients. Recently, its pharmacological role in the prevention and treatment of cancer has received increasing attention. However, the mechanisms by which garlic extract (GE) induces cytotoxicity, oxidative stress, and apoptosis in cancer cells remain largely unknown.

Objective:The present study was designed to use HL-60 cells as a test model to evaluate whether or not GE-induced cytotoxicty and apoptosis in human leukemia (HL-60) cells is mediated through oxidative stress.

Methods:Human leukemia (HL-60) cells were treated with different concentrations of GE for 12 hr. Cell survival was determined by MTT assay. The extent of oxidative cell/tissue damage was determined by measuring malondialdehyde (lipid peroxidation biomarker) concentrations by spectrophotometry. Cell apoptosis was measured by flow cytometry assessment (Annexin-V and caspase-3 assays) and agarose gel electrophoresis (DNA laddering assay).

Results:Data obtained from the MTT assay indicated that GE significantly (p < 0.05) reduced the viability of HL-60 cells in a concentration-dependent manner. We detected a significant (p < 0.05) increase in malondialdehyde (MDA) concentrations in GE-treated HL-60 cells compared to the control. Flow cytometry data showed a strong concentration-response relationship between GE exposure and Annexin-V positive HL-60 cells. Similarly, a statistically significant and concentration-dependent increase (p <0.05) were recorded with regard to caspase-3 activity in HL-60 cells undergoing late apoptosis. These results were confirmed by data of DNA laddering assay showing a clear evidence of nucleosomal DNA fragmentation in GE-treated cells.

Conclusion: Our finding indicates that GE-induced cytotoxicity and apoptosis in HL-60 cells involve phosphatidylserine externalization, caspase-3activation, and nucleosomal DNA fragmentation associated with the formation of MDA, a by-product of lipid peroxidation and biomarker of oxidative stress. At therapeutic concentrations, GE-induced cytotoxic and apoptotic effects in HL-60 cells is mediated by oxidative stress.


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