Polyunsaturated fatty acids trigger apoptosis of colon cancer cells through a mitochondrial pathway
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Submission date: 2014-07-08
Final revision date: 2014-08-20
Acceptance date: 2014-08-20
Online publication date: 2015-10-12
Publication date: 2015-10-31
Arch Med Sci 2015;11(5):1081–1094
Introduction: Colorectal cancer is common in developed countries. Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have been reported to possess tumoricidal action, but the exact mechanism of their action is not clear.
Material and methods: In the present study, we studied the effect of various n-6 and n-3 fatty acids on the survival of the colon cancer cells LoVo and RKO and evaluated the possible involvement of a mitochondrial pathway in their ability to induce apoptosis.
Results: It was observed that n-3 α-linolenic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid (ALA, EPA and DHA respectively) and n-6 linoleic acid, gamma-linolenic acid and arachidonic acid (LA, GLA and AA respectively) induced apoptosis of the colon cancer cells LoVo and RKO at concentrations above 120 µM (p < 0.01 compared to control). The semi-differentiated colon cancer cell line RKO was more sensitive to the cytotoxic action of PUFAs compared to the undifferentiated colon cancer cell line LoVo. PUFA-treated cells showed an increased number of lipid droplets in their cytoplasm. PUFA-induced apoptosis of LoVo and RKO cells is mediated through a mitochondria-mediated pathway as evidenced by loss of mitochondrial membrane potential, generation of ROS, accumulation of intracellular Ca2+, activation of caspase-9 and caspase-3, decreased ATP level and increase in the Bax/Bcl2 expression ratio.
Conclusions: PUFAs induced apoptosis of colon cancer cells through a mitochondrial dependent pathway.