Glioblastoma is a brain tumour, characterised by recurrent or innate resistance to conventional chemoradiotherapy. Novel natural molecules and phyto-extracts have been proposed as adjuvants to sensitise the response to Temozolomide (TMZ). In this study, we investigated the effect of GS extract on human glioblastoma cells U87Mg. According to the IC50-values, GS extract displayed a significant cytotoxicity. This was confirmed by cell growth inhibition and alteration in metabolic activity evaluated by cell count and MTT assay. GS induced reduction in Pro-caspase 9, 3, but not PARP cleavage nor DNA fragmentation. Thus, in GS-induced cytotoxicity, cell death is not associated with apoptosis. In this context, short-term treatment of U87Mg cells with GS extract (1 mg/mL) reduced the phosphorylation levels of mTOR and of its downstream target P70 S6 kinase, highlighting the role of GS extract into autophagy induction. The activation of autophagic flux by GS extract was confirmed by Western blot analysis, which revealed the reduction in p62 and the concomitant increase in LC3B II/I ratio. Immunofluorescence evidenced the accumulation of LC3B puncta in U87Mg cells pretreated with autophagy inhibitor Bafilomycin A1. Furthermore, as main key regulators of type II programmed cell death, p53, p21 and CDK4 were also investigated and were inhibited by GS treatment. In conclusion, GS extract could be considered as an autophagy inducer in glioblastoma cells U87Mg.
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