Research Papers:

Increased reactive oxygen species levels cause ER stress and cytotoxicity in andrographolide treated colon cancer cells

Aditi Banerjee _, Vivekjyoti Banerjee, Steven Czinn and Thomas Blanchard

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:26142-26153. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.15393

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Aditi Banerjee1, Vivekjyoti Banerjee1, Steven Czinn1, Thomas Blanchard1

1Department of Pediatrics, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A

Correspondence to:

Aditi Banerjee, email: [email protected]

Keywords: andrographolide, chemotherapy, reactive oxygen species, endoplasmic reticulum stress, unfolded protein response

Received: August 15, 2016     Accepted: January 30, 2017     Published: February 16, 2017


Chemotherapy continues to play an essential role in the management of many cancers including colon cancer, the third leading cause of death due to cancer in the United States. Many naturally occurring plant compounds have been demonstrated to possess anti-cancer cell activity and have the potential to supplement existing chemotherapy strategies. The plant metabolite andrographolide induces cell death in cancer cells and apoptosis is dependent upon the induction of endoplasmic reticulum stress (ER stress) leading to the unfolded protein response (UPR). The goal of the present study was to determine the mechanism by which andrographolide induces ER stress and to further evaluate its role in promoting cell death pathways. The T84 and COLO 205 cancer cell lines were used to demonstrate that andrographolide induces increased ROS levels, corresponding anti-oxidant response molecules, and reduced mitochondrial membrane potential. No increases in ROS levels were detected in control colon fibroblast cells. Andrographolide-induced cell death, UPR signaling, and CHOP, Bax, and caspase 3 apoptosis elements were all inhibited in the presence of the ROS scavenger NAC. Additionally, andrographolide-induced suppression of cyclins B1 and D1 were also reversed in the presence of NAC. Finally, Akt phosphorylation and phospho-mTOR levels that are normally suppressed by andrographolide were also expressed at normal levels in the absence of ROS. These data demonstrate that andrographolide induces ER stress leading to apoptosis through the induction of ROS and that elevated ROS also play an important role in down-regulating cell cycle progression and cell survival pathways as well.

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