Cell Stress and Chaperones

, Volume 18, Issue 6, pp 801–808 | Cite as

Capsaicin as an inducer of damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) of immunogenic cell death (ICD) in human bladder cancer cells

  • Donatella D’Eliseo
  • Laura Manzi
  • Francesca Velotti
Short Communication


Few conventional cytotoxic anticancer therapeutics induce immunogenic cell death (ICD). This means that they induce tumor cells to undergo apoptosis while eliciting the emission of a spatiotemporal-defined combination of damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) decoded by the immune system to activate antitumor immunity effective for long-term therapeutic success. The neurotoxin capsaicin (CPS) can induce both cancer cell apoptosis and immune-mediated tumor regression. In the present study, we investigated whether CPS is capable of eliciting the emission of ICD hallmarks in human bladder cancer cell lines undergoing apoptosis. We demonstrated that CPS induces pre- and early apoptotic cell surface exposure of calreticulin (CRT), HSP90, and HSP70 as well as ATP release. Moreover, CRT exposure was prevented by inhibition of endoplasmic reticulum–Golgi traffic by brefeldin A. Furthermore, high-mobility group box 1, HSP90, and HSP70 were passively released at late apoptotic stages. We provide the first evidence that CPS is an inducer of ICD hallmarks, suggesting CPS as a novel potential immunogenic cytotoxic agent.


Capsaicin Immunogenic cell death Calreticulin Heat shock proteins Adenosine triphosphate High-mobility group box 1 



We thank Rocco Fraioli for the skillful technical assistance. The research was financially supported by grant Programmi di Ricerca di Rilevante Interesse Nazionale 2009 from Italian Ministero dell’Istruzione, Università e Ricerca.


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Copyright information

© Cell Stress Society International 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donatella D’Eliseo
    • 1
  • Laura Manzi
    • 1
  • Francesca Velotti
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ecological and Biological Sciences (DEB)University of La TusciaViterboItaly

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