Saponin 1 is a triterpeniod saponin extracted from Anemone taipaiensis, a traditional Chinese medicine against rheumatism and phlebitis. It has also been shown to exhibit significant anti-tumor activity against human leukemia (HL-60 cells) and human hepatocellular carcinoma (Hep-G2 cells). Herein we investigated the effect of saponin 1 in human glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) U251MG and U87MG cells. Saponin 1 induced significant growth inhibition in both glioblastoma cell lines, with a 50% inhibitory concentration at 24 h of 7.4 μg/ml in U251MG cells and 8.6 μg/ml in U87MG cells, respectively. Nuclear fluorescent staining and electron microscopy showed that saponin 1 caused characteristic apoptotic morphological changes in the GBM cell lines. Saponin 1-induced apoptosis was also verified by DNA ladder electrophoresis and flow cytometry. Additionally, immunocytochemistry and western blotting analyses revealed a time-dependent decrease in the expression and nuclear location of NF-κB following saponin 1 treatment. Western blotting data indicated a significant decreased expression of inhibitors of apoptosis (IAP) family members, (e.g., survivin and XIAP) by saponin 1. Moreover, saponin 1 caused a decrease in the Bcl-2/Bax ratio and initiated apoptosis by activating caspase-9 and caspase-3 in the GBM cell lines. These findings indicate that saponin 1 inhibits cell growth of GBM cells at least partially by inducing apoptosis and inhibiting survival signaling mediated by NF-κB. In addition, in vivo study also demonstrated an obvious inhibition of saponin 1 treatment on the tumor growth of U251MG and U87MG cells-produced xenograft tumors in nude mice. Given the minimal toxicities of saponin 1 in non-neoplastic astrocytes, our results suggest that saponin 1 exhibits significant in vitro and in vivo anti-tumor efficacy and merits further investigation as a potential therapeutic agent for GBM. © 2013 Li et al.
Li, J., Tang, H., Zhang, Y., Tang, C., Li, B., Wang, Y., … Fei, Z. (2013). Saponin 1 induces apoptosis and suppresses NF-κB-mediated survival signaling in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). PLoS ONE, 8(11). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0081258