Lignan from Safflower Seeds Induces Apoptosis in Human Promyelocytic Leukemia Cells

  • Kim, Jae-Hi (Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, Kyungpook National University) ;
  • Park, Youn-Hee (Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, Kyungpook National University) ;
  • Park, Sang-Won (Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, Kyungpook National University) ;
  • Yang, Eun-Kyoung (Department of Food Science and Nutrition, Catholic University) ;
  • Lee, Won-Jung (Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, Kyungpook National University)
  • Published : 2003.06.01


We recently extracted lignans such as matairesinol and 2-hydroxyarctigenin from safflower seeds and found that they exhibit a potent cytotoxic effect on human promyleocytic leukemia HL-60 cells. In this study, we investigated whether mechanisms of the matairesinol-induced cell death are associated with the programmed cell death, apoptosis. Matairesinol dose-dependently reduced viability of HL-60 cells with an IC/sun 50/ value of 60 $\mu$M. Staining of cells with Hoechst 33342 revealed distinct morphological features of apoptosis, such as the nuclei broken into chromatin containing fragments of various sizes in the cells exposed to 100 $\mu$M matairesinol for 24 hr. Agarose gel electrophoresis of DNA from the cells treated with matairesinol showed internucleosomal DNA degradation into oligonucleosomal sizes. DNA ladder like patterns were easily detected after treatment with matairesinol concentrations ranging from 10 to 100 $\mu$M after 24 hr. In cells treated with 100 $\mu$M matairesinol for differing time periods, the DNA ladder was detectable from 6 hr onward. A time course histogram of the DNA content analyzed by flow cytometry revealed a rapid increase in subdiploid cells and a concomitant decrease in diploid cells exposed to 100 $\mu$M matairesinol. These results indicate that matairesinol-induced HL-60 cell death was due to the DNA damage and apoptosis.


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