Auraptene-induced cytotoxicity mechanisms in human malignant glioblastoma (U87) cells: role of reactive oxygen species (ROS)

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Amir R. Afshari
Mohammad Jalili-Nik
Mohammad Soukhtanloo
Ahmad Ghorbani
Hamid R. Sadeghnia
Hamid Mollazadeh
Mostafa Karimi Roshan
Farzad Rahmani
Hamed Sabri
Mohammad Mahdi Vahedi
Seyed Hadi Mousavi


Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), like the devastating type of astrocytic tumors, is one of the most challenging cancers to treat owing to its aggressive nature. Auraptene, as a prenyloxy coumarin from citrus species, represents antioxidant and antitumor activities; however, the underlying antitumor mechanisms of auraptene against GBM remain unclear. The present study aimed to evaluate the cytotoxic and apoptogenic effects of auraptene, as a promising natural product, and the possible signaling pathways affected in human malignant GBM (U87) cells. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) production significantly decreased in the first 2, and 6 hours after treatment with auraptene however, ROS levels increased in other incubation times (8 and 24 hours), dramatically. N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) markedly attenuated auraptene–induced ROS production, and consequently reversed auraptene–induced cytotoxicity in 8 and 24 hours after treatment, as well. Induction of apoptosis occurred in the first 24- and 48-hours concentration-dependently. The qRT-PCR showed an up-regulation in p21, CXCL3, and a down-regulation in Cyclin D1 genes expression. Western blot analysis confirmed the up-regulation of the Bax/Bcl-2 ratio protein levels concentration-dependently. Hence, this study collectively revealed that the increase in ROS level is at least one of the mechanisms associated with auraptene-induced GBM cell toxicity as well as the induction of apoptosis through Bax/Bcl-2 modulation and genes expression involved that contribute to the cytotoxicity of auraptene in U87 cells. So, auraptene might be utilized as a potential novel anti-GBM agent after further studies.

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Afshari, A. R., Jalili-Nik, M., Soukhtanloo, M., Ghorbani, A., Sadeghnia, H. R., Mollazadeh, H., Karimi Roshan, M., Rahmani, F., Sabri, H., Vahedi, M. M., & Mousavi, S. H. (2019). Auraptene-induced cytotoxicity mechanisms in human malignant glioblastoma (U87) cells: role of reactive oxygen species (ROS). EXCLI Journal, 18, 576-590.
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