Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Vol.105, No.5, 2033-2042, 2021
Lactonic sophorolipid-induced apoptosis in human HepG2 cells through the Caspase-3 pathway
Liver cancer, one of the most common types of cancer in the world, is the second leading cause of death for cancer patients. For liver cancer, there is an urgent need for an effective treatment with no or less toxic side effects. Lactonic sophorolipids (LSL), as a potential anticancer drug, has attracted wide attention of pharmaceutical researchers with its good biological activities. The effects of LSL and cell death inhibitors were measured by MTT test on HepG2 cells. Meanwhile, the morphology of the cells was observed under a microscope. The apoptosis rate was detected by flow cytometry, and the expression levels of enzyme activity of Caspase-3 and Caspase-9 were measured by detection kits. Meanwhile, mRNA levels of Apaf-1, Caspase-3, Bax, and Bcl-2 were measured by quantitative real-time RT-PCR; protein levels of Caspase-3, Cleaved Caspase-3, Bax, and Bcl-2 were measured by western blot. LSL can inhibit the proliferation of cells, and it is possible to induce apoptosis in cells. The HepG2 cells with LSL co-culture exhibited typical apoptotic morphology, and the expression levels of enzyme activity of Caspase-3 and Caspase-9 increased (P< 0.05). We also found that LSL increases cell apoptosis rate and regulates the expression of genes and proteins associated with apoptosis through the Caspase-3 pathway. These results indicate that LSL may be one of the potential drug candidates to inhibit the proliferation and induce apoptosis in HepG2 cells.