Senescence Effects of Angelica sinensis Polysaccharides on Human Acute Myelogenous Leukemia Stem and Progenitor Cells

  • Liu, Jun (Histology and Embryology, Laboratory of Stem Cell and Tissue Engineering, Chongqing Medical University) ;
  • Xu, Chun-Yan (Histology and Embryology, Laboratory of Stem Cell and Tissue Engineering, Chongqing Medical University) ;
  • Cai, Shi-Zhong (Histology and Embryology, Laboratory of Stem Cell and Tissue Engineering, Chongqing Medical University) ;
  • Zhou, Yue (Histology and Embryology, Laboratory of Stem Cell and Tissue Engineering, Chongqing Medical University) ;
  • Li, Jing (Histology and Embryology, Laboratory of Stem Cell and Tissue Engineering, Chongqing Medical University) ;
  • Jiang, Rong (Histology and Embryology, Laboratory of Stem Cell and Tissue Engineering, Chongqing Medical University) ;
  • Wang, Ya-Ping (Histology and Embryology, Laboratory of Stem Cell and Tissue Engineering, Chongqing Medical University)
  • Published : 2013.11.30


Leukemia stem cells (LSCs) play important roles in leukemia initiation, progression and relapse, and thus represent a critical target for therapeutic intervention. Hence, it is extremely urgent to explore new therapeutic strategies directly targeting LSCs for acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) therapy. We show here that Angelica sinensis polysaccharide (ASP), a major active component in Dong quai (Chinese Angelica sinensis), effectively inhibited human AML $CD34^+CD38^-$ cell proliferation in vitro culture in a dose-dependent manner while sparing normal hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells at physiologically achievable concentrations. Furthermore, ASP exerted cytotoxic effects on AML K562 cells, especially LSC-enriched $CD34^+CD38^-$ cells. Colony formation assays further showed that ASP significantly suppressed the formation of colonies derived from AML $CD34^+CD38^-$ cells but not those from normal $CD34^+CD38^-$ cells. Examination of the underlying mechanisms revealed that ASP induced $CD34^+CD38^-$ cell senescence, which was strongly associated with a series of characteristic events, including up-regulation of p53, p16, p21, and Rb genes and changes of related cell cycle regulation proteins P16, P21, cyclin E and CDK4, telomere end attrition as well as repression of telomerase activity. On the basis of these findings, we propose that ASP represents a potentially important agent for leukemia stem cell-targeted therapy.


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