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Molecules 2013, 18(2), 1949-1962; doi:10.3390/molecules18021949
Article

Euphorbia formosana Root Extract Induces Apoptosis by Caspase-Dependent Cell Death via Fas and Mitochondrial Pathway in THP-1 Human Leukemic Cells

1,2,†, 3,†, 4,5, 2, 6, 7,8,*  and 9,*
1 Department of Laboratory Medicine and Biotechnology, School of Medicine, Tzu Chi University, Hualien 97004, Taiwan 2 Department of Chemistry, National Dong-Hwa University, Hualien 97401, Taiwan 3 Department of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, Tzu Chi University, Hualien 97004, Taiwan 4 School of Applied Chemistry, Chung Shan Medical University, Taichung 40201, Taiwan 5 Institute of NanoEngineering and MicroSystems, National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu 30013, Taiwan 6 Department of Nursing, St. Mary's Medicine, Nursing and Management College, Yi-Lan 26644, Taiwan 7 Graduate Institute of Natural Products, College of Medicine, Chang Gung University, Taoyuan 333, Taiwan 8 Chinese Herbal Medicine Research Team, Healthy Aging Research Center, Chang Gung University, Taoyuan 333, Taiwan 9 Institute of Biotechnology, National Dong-Hwa University, Hualien 97401, Taiwan These authors contributed equally to this work.
* Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 December 2012 / Revised: 28 January 2013 / Accepted: 29 January 2013 / Published: 1 February 2013
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Abstract

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a very rare type of cancer, generally affects patients over 50 years old. While clinical drugs to treat advanced stages of AML exist, the disease becomes increasingly resistant to therapies. Euphorbia formosana Hayata (EF) is a native Taiwanese medicinal plant used to treat rheumatism, liver cirrhosis, herpes zoster, scabies, and photoaging, along with tumor suppression. However, the mechanisms by which it suppresses tumors have not been explored. Here, we provide molecular evidence that a hot-water extract of Euphorbia formosana (EFW) selectively inhibited the growth of human leukemic cancer cells more than other solid human cancer cell lines. Most importantly, the plant extract had limited toxicity toward healthy peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). After THP-1 leukemic cells were treated with 50–100 µg/mL EFW for one day, the S phase DNA content of the cells increased, while treatment with 200–400 µg/mL caused the cells to accumulate in the G0/G1 phase. Notably, EFW did not affect A-549 lung cancer cells. The effectiveness of EFW against THP-1 cells may be through caspase-dependent apoptosis in leukemic cells, which is mediated through the Fas and mitochondrial pathways. The potent antileukemic activity of EFW in vitro warrants further investigation of this plant to treat leukemias and other malignancies.
Keywords: Euphorbia formosana; apoptosis; mitochondrial pathway; Fas pathway Euphorbia formosana; apoptosis; mitochondrial pathway; Fas pathway
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Hsieh, Y.-J.; Chang, C.-J.; Wan, C.-F.; Chen, C.-P.; Chiu, Y.-H.; Leu, Y.-L.; Peng, K.-C. Euphorbia formosana Root Extract Induces Apoptosis by Caspase-Dependent Cell Death via Fas and Mitochondrial Pathway in THP-1 Human Leukemic Cells. Molecules 2013, 18, 1949-1962.

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