Mitochondrial-mediated apoptosis in lymphoma cells by the diterpenoid lactone andrographolide, the active component of Andrographis paniculata

Shuo Yang, Andrew M. Evens, Sheila Prachand, Amareshwar T.K. Singh, Savita Bhalla, Kevin David, Leo I. Gordon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Purpose: Andrographolide is a diterpenoid lactone isolated from Andrographis paniculata (King of Bitters), an herbal medicine used in Asia. It has been reported to have anti-inflammatory, antihypertensive, antiviral, and immune-stimulant properties. Furthermore, it has been shown to inhibit cancer cell proliferation and induce apoptosis in leukemia and solid tumor cell lines. Experimental Design: We studied the Burkitt p53-mutated Ramos cell line, the mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) line Granta, the follicular lymphoma (FL) cell line HF-1, and the diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) cell line SUDHL4, as well as primary cells from patients with FL, DLBCL, and MCL. Results: We found that andrographolide resulted in dose- and time-dependent cell death as measured by MTT. Andrographolide significantly increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in all cell lines. To determine mechanism of cell death, we measured apoptosis by Annexin V/propidium iodide in the presence and absence of the antioxidant N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC), the glutathione (GSH)-depleting agent buthionine sulfoxamine (BSO), or caspase inhibitors. We found that apoptosis was greatly enhanced by BSO, blocked by NAC, and accompanied by poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase cleavage and activation of caspase-3, caspase-8, and caspase-9. We measured BAX conformational change and mitochondrial membrane potential, and using mouse embryonic fibroblast (MEF) Bax/Bak double knockouts (MEF Bax-/-/Bak-/-), we found that apoptosis was mediated through mitochondrial pathways, but dependent on caspases in both cell lines and patient samples. Conclusions: Andrographolide caused ROS-dependent apoptosis in lymphoma cell lines and in primary tumor samples, which was enhanced by depletion of GSH and inhibited by NAC or the pan-caspase inhibitor Z-VAD-FMK. Further studies of diterpenoid lactones in lymphoma are warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4755-4768
Number of pages14
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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