This study examined the growth inhibitory effects of structurally related polymethoxylated flavones in human cancer cells. Here, we report that 5-hydroxy-3,6,7,8,3′,4′-hexamethoxyflavone (5-OH-HxMF) induces growth inhibition of human cancer cells and induction of apoptosis in HL-60 cells through modulation of mitochondrial functions regulated by reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS generation occurs in the early stages of 5-OH-HxMF-induced apoptosis, preceding cytochrome c release, caspase activation, and DNA fragmentation. The changes occurred after single breaks in DNA were detected, suggesting that 5-OH-HxMF induced irreparable DNA damage, which in turn triggered the process of apoptosis. Up-regulation of Bax was found in 5-OH-HxMF-treated HL-60 cells. In addition, a caspase-independent pathway indicated by endonuclease G also contributed to apoptosis caused by 5-OH-HxMF. Antioxidants suppress 5-OH-HxMF-induced apoptosis. 5-OH-HxMF markedly enhanced growth arrest DNA damage-inducible gene 153 (GADD153) protein in a time-dependent manner. Acetylcysteine (NAC) and catalase prevented up-regulation of GADD153 expression caused by 5-OH-HxMF. These findings suggest that 5-OH-HxMF creates an oxidative cellular environment that induces DNA damage and GADD153 gene activation, which in turn helps trigger apoptosis in HL-60 cells. Meanwhile, ROS were proven an important inducer in this apoptotic process. The C-5 hydroxyl on the ring of 5-OH-HxMF was found to be essential for the antiproliferative and apoptosis-inducing activity. Our study identified the novel mechanisms of 5-OH-HxMF-induced apoptosis and indicated that these results have significant applications as potential chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic agents.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)