Archives of Pharmacal Research

, Volume 41, Issue 10, pp 986–994 | Cite as

Autophagy plays a protective role against apoptosis induced by toxicarioside N via the Akt/mTOR pathway in human gastric cancer SGC-7901 cells

  • Huan-Ge Zhao
  • Song-Lin Zhou
  • Ying-Ying Lin
  • Hua Wang
  • Hao-Fu DaiEmail author
  • Feng-Ying HuangEmail author
Research Article


Toxicarioside N (Tox N), a natural product extract from Antiaris toxicaria, has been reported to induce apoptosis in human gastric cancer cells. However, the mechanism and actual role of autophagy in Tox N-induced apoptosis of human gastric cancer cells remains poorly understood. In the current study, we demonstrated that Tox N could induce autophagy by inhibiting the Akt/mTOR signaling pathway in SGC-7901 cells. Moreover, we found that the inhibition of autophagy by 3-methyladenine, an autophagy inhibitor, enhanced Tox N-induced apoptotic cell death. However, the stimulation of autophagy by rapamycin, an autophagy activator, remarkably suppressed Tox N-induced apoptosis, suggesting that autophagy plays a protective role in Tox N-induced apoptosis. Thus, the results from this study suggested that Tox N combination with an autophagy inhibitor might be a promising strategy to enhance the anticancer activity of Tox N for the treatment of human gastric cancer.


Toxicarioside N Autophagy Apoptosis SGC-7901 cells Akt/mTOR 



The authors acknowledge the financial support provided by The National Natural Science Foundation of China, Project Nos 81560484 and 81460557, Hainan province natural science foundation of China, Project No. 817147.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© The Pharmaceutical Society of Korea 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Tropical Diseases and Translational Medicine of the Ministry of EducationHainan Medical CollegeHaikouChina
  2. 2.Hainan Provincial Key Laboratory of Tropical MedicineHainan Medical CollegeHaikouChina
  3. 3.Institutes of Tropical Bioscience and BiotechnologyChinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural SciencesHaikouChina

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