4-Methylsulfinyl-3-butenyl isothiocyanate (MTBITC) found in the radish (Raphanus sativus L.), is a well- known anticancer agent. In this study, the mechanisms of the MTBITC induction of cell apoptosis in human A549 lung cancer cells were investigated. Our PI staining results showed that MTBITC treatment significantly increased the apoptotic sub-G1 fraction in a dose-dependent manner. The mechanism of apoptosis induced by MTBITC was investigated by testing the change of mitochondrial membrane potential (Δψm), the expression of mRNAs of apoptosis-related genes by RT-PCR, and the activities of caspase-3 and -9 by caspase colorimetric assay. MTBITC treatment decreased mitochondrial membrane potential by down-regulating the rate of Bcl-2/ Bax and Bcl-xL/Bax, and activation of caspase-3 and -9. Therefore, mitochondrial pathway and Bcl-2 gene family could be involved in the mechanisms of A549 cell apoptosis induced by MTBITC.
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