Bitter apricot ethanolic extract induces apoptosis through increasing expression of Bax/Bcl-2 ratio and caspase-3 in PANC-1 pancreatic cancer cells.


Department of Clinical Nutrition, School of Nutrition and Food Sciences, Tabriz University of Medical Science, Tabriz, Iran. [Email]


Pancreatic cancer is the fourth common cause of cancer death. Surgery and chemotherapy are the common treatment strategies for pancreatic cancer patients; however, the response rate is less than 20% at advanced stages. In recent years, growing interest has been dedicated to natural products. Bitter apricot seeds possess a number of pharmacological properties including antitumor activity and amygdalin from bitter apricot seeds can induce apoptosis. In this study, we investigated the cyto/genotoxic effects of bitter apricot ethanolic extract (BAEE) and amygdalin on human pancreatic cancer PANC-1 and normal epithelial 293/KDR cells. BAEE was assessed using high-performance liquid chromatography for the confirmation of the structure. The biological impacts of BAEE and amygdalin on PANC-1 and 293/KDR cells were evaluated by MTT assay, DAPI staining, AnnexinV/PI and Real-time qPCR analysis. BAEE and amygdalin inhibited cancer cell growth in a dose- and time-dependent manner. DAPI staining and flow cytometric analysis revealed fragmented nuclei and elevated numbers of early and late apoptotic cells, respectively. Also, increased Bax/Bcl-2 ratio and upregulation of caspase-3 further confirmed the occurrence of apoptosis in PANC-1 cells, but not in non-cancerous 293/KDR cells. These results indicate that BAEE could mediate apoptosis induction in cancer cells through a mitochondria dependent pathway. These findings suggest that BAEE functions as a potent pro-apoptotic factor for human pancreatic cancer cells without a significant effect on 293/KDR cells. Though, the potent anti-cancer components of BAEE should be further identified. Moreover, in vivo investigations are required to confirm bitter apricot ethanolic extract's clinical value as an anti-tumor drug.


Amygdalin,Apoptosis,Bitter apricot,Pancreatic cancer,

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