Andrographolide induces protective autophagy and targeting DJ-1 triggers reactive oxygen species-induced cell death in pancreatic cancer


PeerJ. 2024 Jun 28;12:e17619. doi: 10.7717/peerj.17619. eCollection 2024.


BACKGROUND: Andrographolide (Andro), an extract of Andrographis paniculate (Burm.f.) Wall. ex Nees (Acanthaceae), possesses diverse biologically active properties. However, the precise mechanisms and effects of Andro on pancreatic cancer (PC) remain unclear.

METHODS: The cytotoxic potential of Andro and underlying mechanism towards PC cells was investigated through in vitro experiments and a xenograft mouse model. PC cells were first subjected to varying concentrations of Andro. The reactive oxygen species (ROS) was assessed using flow cytometry and DCFH-DA staining. The apoptosis rate was detected by flow cytometry. Additionally, western blot was applied to evaluate the expression levels of cleaved-caspase-3, DJ-1, LC3-I, LC3-II, and p62. To further elucidate the involvement of ROS accumulation and autophagy, we employed N-acetylcysteine as a scavenger of ROS and 3-Methyladenine as an inhibitor of autophagy.

RESULTS: Andro demonstrated potent anti-proliferative effects on PC cells and induced apoptosis, both in vitro and in vivo. The cytotoxicity of Andro on PC cells was counteracted by DJ-1 overexpression. The reduction in DJ-1 expression caused by Andro led to ROS accumulation, subsequently inhibiting the growth of PC cells. Furthermore, Andro stimulated cytoprotective autophagy, thus weakening the antitumor effect. Pharmacological blockade of autophagy further enhanced the antitumor efficacy of Andro.

CONCLUSION: Our study indicated that ROS accumulation induced by the DJ-1 reduction played a key role in Andro-mediated PC cell inhibition. Furthermore, the protective autophagy induced by the Andro in PC cells is a mechanism that needs to be addressed in future studies.

PMID:38952980 | PMC:PMC11216212 | DOI:10.7717/peerj.17619