, Volume 87, Issue 11, pp 1927-1937,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 04 Apr 2013

Dioscin-induced autophagy mitigates cell apoptosis through modulation of PI3K/Akt and ERK and JNK signaling pathways in human lung cancer cell lines


Our previous study has revealed that dioscin, a compound with anti-inflammatory, lipid-lowering, anticancer and hepatoprotective effects, may induce autophagy in hepatoma cells. Autophagy is a lysosomal degradation pathway that is essential for cell survival and tissue homeostasis. In this study, the role of autophagy and related signaling pathways during dioscin-induced apoptosis in human lung cancer cells was investigated. Results from 4′-6-diamidino-2-phenylindole and annexin-V/PI double-staining assay showed that caspase-3- and caspase-8-dependent, and dose-dependent apoptoses were detected after a 24-h dioscin treatment. Meanwhile, autophagy was detected as early as 12 h after an exposure to low-dose dioscin, as indicated by an up-regulated expression of LC3-II and beclin-1 proteins. Blockade of autophagy with bafilomycin A1 or 3-methyladenine sensitized the A549 and H1299 cells to apoptosis. Treatment of A549 and H1299 cells with dioscin caused a dose-dependent increase in ERK1/2 and JNK1/2 activity, accompanied with a decreased PI3K expression and decreased phosphorylation of Akt and mTOR. Taken together, this study demonstrated for the first time that autophagy occurred earlier than apoptosis during dioscin-induced human lung cancer cell line apoptosis. Dioscin-induced autophagy via ERK1/2 and JNK1/2 pathways may provide a protective mechanism for cell survival against dioscin-induced apoptosis to act as a cytoprotective reaction.