Salvianolic Acid B (Sal B), an active compound extracted from the Chinese herb Salvia miltiorrhiza, is attracting more and more attention due to its biological activities, including antioxidant, anticoagulant and antitumor effects. However, autophagy induction in cancer cells by Sal B has never been recognized. In this study, we demonstrated that Sal B induced cell death and triggered autophagy in HCT116 and HT29 cells in a dose-dependent manner. Specific inhibition of autophagy by 3-MA or shRNA targeting Atg5 rescued Sal B-induced cell death in vitro and in vivo, suggesting that Sal B-induced autophagy may play a pro-death role and contribute to the cell death of colorectal cancer cell lines. Furthermore, AKT/mTOR signaling pathway was demonstrated to be a critical mediator in regulating Sal B-induced cell death. Overexpression of AKT by the transfection with AKT plasmid or pretreatment with insulin decreased Sal B-induced autophagy and cell death. Inversely, inhibition of AKT by LY294002 treatment markedly enhanced Sal B-induced autophagy and cell death. Taken together, our results demonstrate, for the first time, that Sal B is a novel autophagy inducer and exerts its antitumor activity as a single agent in colorectal cancer cells through the suppression of AKT/mTOR pathway.
Jing, Z., Fei, W., Zhou, J., Zhang, L., Chen, L., Zhang, X., … Pan, H. (2016). Salvianolic acid B, a novel autophagy inducer, exerts antitumor activity as a single agent in colorectal cancer cells. Oncotarget, 7(38). https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.11385