Pancreatic cancer has a 100% mortality rate; the aim of this study is to evaluate the efficacy of dandelion root extract (DRE) in inducing apoptosis and autophagy in aggressive and resistant pancreatic cancer cells.
The effect of DRE was evaluated using WST-1 (4-[3-(4-iodophenyl)-2-(4-nitrophenyl)-2H-5-tetrazolio]-1,3-benzene disulfonate) assay. Apoptotic cell death was confirmed by nuclear condensation by Hoechst staining and externalization of phosphatidylserine to the outer leaflet of the plasma membrane by Annexin-V binding assay. Loss of mitochondrial membrane potential was observed using the JC-1 (5,5′,6, 6′-tetrachloro-1,1′,3,3′ tetraethylbenzimidazolylcarbocyanine iodide) dye. The induction of autophagy was detected using a monodansylcadaverine assay and this was confirmed by immunofluorescence for light chain 3-II.
BxPC-3 and PANC-1 pancreatic cells were sensitive to aqueous DRE. This extract induces selective apoptosis in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Dandelion root extract caused the collapse of the mitochondrial membrane potential, leading to prodeath autophagy. Normal human fibroblasts were resistant at similar doses.
We demonstrate that DRE has the potential to induce apoptosis and autophagy in human pancreatic cancer cells with no significant effect on noncancerous cells. This will provide a basis on which further research in cancer treatment through DRE can be executed.
DRE - dandelion root extract
LC3-II - light chain 3-II
MDC - monodansylcadaverine