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Salvianolic Acid B Induces Apoptosis in Human Glioma U87 Cells Through p38-Mediated ROS Generation


Salvianolic acid B (SalB), the main water-soluble bioactive compounds isolated from the traditional Chinese medical herb Danshen, has been shown to exert anti-cancer effect in several cancer cell lines. The aim of our study was to investigate the potential anti-cancer effect of SalB in human glioma U87 cells. We found that treatment with SalB significantly decreased cell viability of U87 cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner. SalB also enhanced the intracellular ROS generation and induced apoptotic cell death in U87 cells. Western blot analysis suggested that SalB increased the phosphorylation of p38 MAPK and p53 in a dose-dependent manner. Moreover, blocking p38 activation by specific inhibitor SB203580 or p38 specific siRNA partly reversed the anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic effects, and ROS production induced by SalB treatment. The anti-tumor activity of SalB in vivo was also demonstrated in U87 xenograft glioma model. All of these findings extended the anti-cancer effect of SalB in human glioma cell lines, and suggested that these inhibitory effects of SalB on U87 glioma cell growth might be associated with p38 activation mediated ROS generation. Thus, SalB might be concerned as an effective and safe natural anticancer agent for glioma prevention and treatment.

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The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.

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Correspondence to Zi-shu Wang or Tao Chen.

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Zi-shu Wang, Peng Luo and Shu-hui Dai contributed equally to this work.

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Wang, Zs., Luo, P., Dai, Sh. et al. Salvianolic Acid B Induces Apoptosis in Human Glioma U87 Cells Through p38-Mediated ROS Generation. Cell Mol Neurobiol 33, 921–928 (2013).

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  • Salvianolic acid B
  • Apoptosis
  • p38
  • Reactive oxygen species