Background: Mechanisms of apoptosis in tumor cells is an important field of tumor therapy and cancer molecular biology. Loss of cell cycle control, leading to uncontrolled proliferation, is common in cancer. Therefore, the identification of potent and selective cyclin dependent kinase inhibitors is a priority for anti-cancer drug discovery. There are at least two major apoptotic pathways, initiated by caspase-8 and caspase-9, respectively, which can activate caspase cascades. Apoptosis triggered by activation of the mitochondrial-dependent caspase pathway represents the main programmed cell death mechanism. This is activated by various intracellular stresses that induce permeabilization of the mitochondrial membrane. Anti-tumor effects of celery seed extract (CSE) and related mechanisms regarding apoptosis were here investigated in human gastric cancer BGC-823 cells.
Methods: CSE was produced by supercritical fluid extraction. Cell viability was analyzed by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl-tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay and apoptosis by flow cytometry using Annexin/PI staining and DAPI staining and a laser scanning confocal microscope (LSCM). Cell cycling was evaluated using PI staining with flow cytometry and expression of cell cycle and apoptosis-related proteins cyclin A, CDK2, bcl-2 and bax was assessed by immunohistochemical staining.
Results: CSE had an anti-proliferation effect on human gastric cancer BGC-823 cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner. After treatment, the apoptotic rate significantly increased, with morphological changes typical of apoptosis observed with LSCM by DAPI staining. Cell cycle and apoptosis related proteins, such as cyclin A, CDK2 and bcl-2 were all down-regulated, whereas bax was up-regulated.
Conclusions: The molecular determinants of inhibition of cell proliferation as well as apoptosis of CSE may be associated with cycle arrest in the S phase.