Ginsenoside Rh2 inhibits proliferation of human promyelocytic HL-60 leukemia cells via $G_0/G_1$ phase arrest and induction of differentiation

  • Published : 2006.05.24


1 The present work was performed to investigate the effects of ginsenoside Rh2 on proliferation, cell cycle-regulation and differentiation of human leukemia HL-60 cells as well as the underlying mechanisms for these effects. 2 Ginsenoside Rh2 potently inhibited the proliferation of HL-60 cells in both a dose- and time-dependent manner with an $IC_{50}$, $20{\mu}M$. 3 DNA flow-cytometry indicated that ginsenoside Rh2 markedly induced a $G_1$ phase arrest of HL-60 cells. 4 Among the $G_1$ phase cell cycle-related proteins, the levels of cyclin-dependent kinase(CDK)4, 6 and cyclin D1, cyclin D2, cyclin D3 were reduced by ginsenoside Rh2, whereas the steadystate levels of CDK2 and cyclin E were unaffected. 5 The protein levels of a CDK inhibitor p16, $p21^{CIP1/WAF1}$ and $p27^{KIP1}$ were markedly increased by ginsenoside Rh2. 6 Ginsenoside Rh2 markedly enhanced the binding of $p21^{CIP1/WAF1}$ and $p27^{KIP1}$ with CDK2 and CDK6, resulting in the reduced activity of both kinases and the hypophosphorylation of Rb protein. 7 We furthermore suggest that ginsenoside Rh2 is a potent inducer of the differentiation of HL-60 cells, based on observations such as a reduction of the nitroblue tetrazolium level, an increase in the esterase activities and phagocytic activity, morphology changes, and the expression of CD11b, CD14, CD64 and CD66b surface antigens. 8 In conclusion, the onset of ginsenoside Rh2-induced the $G_0/G_1$ arrest of HL-60 cells prior to the differentiation is linked to a sharp up-regulation of the $p21^{CIP1/WAF1}$ level and a decrease in the CDK2, CDK4 and CDK6 activities. This is the first report demonstrating that ginsenoside Rh2 potently inhibits the proliferation of human promyelocytic HL-60 cells via the $G_1$ phase cell cycle arrest and differentiation induction.