Eupatorin and Salvigenin Potentiate Doxorubicin-Induced Apoptosis and Cell Cycle Arrest in HT-29 and SW948 Human Colon Cancer Cells

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Department of Animal Biology, School of Biology, College of Science, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.

2 Department of Phytochemistry, Medicinal Plants and Drugs Research Institute, Shahid Beheshti University, G. C., Evin, Tehran, Iran.


Background: Cancer persists as one of the world’s most pressing maladies. Notable points about chemotherapy are drug side effects which are almost universally encountered. Emerging knowledge focusing on mechanisms of toxicity due to chemotherapy has led to characterization of novel methods, including the exploitation of natural compounds, in combination therapies. Flavonoids are natural polyphenolic compounds that play protective roles against tumor cell development. The focus of this study was apoptotic effects of two flavonoids, eupatorin and salvigenin, in combination with doxorubicin on a cellular model of colon cancer. Method: Upon establishing a non-effective dose of doxorubicin, and effective doses of eupatorin (100μM) and salvigenin (150μM) via MTT, morphological features of apoptosis were distinguished using DAPI staining and cell cycle blockage in the sub-G1 phase. Apoptosis was determined by annexin/ PI and western blotting. ROS levels and MMP were measured to show any role of mitochondria in apoptosis. Results: Co-administration of flavonoids with doxorubicin induced apoptosis via the mitochondrial pathway as mitochondrial membrane potential and ROS production were changed. Annexin/PI analysis demonstrated that apoptosis frequency was increased with the combination treatments in colon cancer cells. Finally, the combination of these flavonoids with doxorubicin increased the Bax/Bcl-2 ratio, caspase-3 expression and PARP cleavage. Conclusion: Combination of flavonoids with doxorubicin induces apoptosis and enhances effect on cancer cells which might allow amelioration of side effects by dose lowering.


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