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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,*
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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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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