Methanol Extract of Flacourtia indica Aerial Parts Induces Apoptosis via Generation of ROS and Activation of Caspases in Human Colon Cancer HCT116 Cells


Different plant parts of Flacourtia indica have long been used in Ayurvedic medicine. Previous studies have demonstrated that the methanolic extract of F. indica possess anti-inflammatory properties. The present study was aimed at investigating the anticancer effects of methanol extract of Flacourtia indica (FIM) aerial parts in human colon cancer (HCT116) cells. Treatment of cells with FIM at a concentration of 500 μg/ml for 24 hours significantly reduced cell viability and induced apoptosis, which was associated with the increased cytoplasmicexpression of cytochrome c, activation of caspase-3, and the cleavage of poly-(ADP-ribose) polymerase. Incubation with FIM also inhibited the levels of Bcl-2, Bcl-xl and survivin, which are the markers of cell proliferation, whereasthe expression of Bax remained unchanged. Treatment with FIM led to the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in a concentration-dependent manner. Pharmacological inhibition of ROS generation by pretreatment ofcells with N-acetyl cysteine abrogated FIM-induced apoptosis in HCT116 cells. Thus, these results demonstrate that FIM has anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic effects in HCT116 cells and the effects are, at least in part, due to the ROS dependent activation of caspases.