Isoliquiritigenin induces apoptosis by depolarizing mitochondrial membranes in prostate cancer cells

Jae In Jung, Soon Sung Lim, Hyun Ju Choi, Han Jin Cho, Hyun Kyung Shin, Eun Ji Kim, Won Yoon Chung, Kwang Kyun Park, Jung Han Yoon Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Citations (Scopus)


Isoliquiritigenin (ISL), a simple chalcone derivative, 4,2′,4′-trihydroxychalcone, found in licorice, shallot and bean sprouts, has been reported to have chemoprotective effects. To examine the effects of ISL on the growth of prostate cancer cells, we cultured MAT-LyLu (MLL) rat and DU145 human prostate cancer cells with various concentrations (0-20 μmol/L) of ISL. Treatment of the cells with increasing concentrations of ISL led to dose-dependent decreases in the viable cell numbers in both DU145 and MLL cells (P<.05). Hoechst 33258 dye staining of condensed nuclei and annexin V binding to surface phosphatidylserine revealed increased numbers of apoptotic cells after ISL treatment. Western blot analysis revealed that ISL increased the levels of membrane-bound Fas ligand (FasL), Fas, cleaved casapse-8, truncated Bid (tBid), Bax and Bad in DU145 cells (P<.05). Isoliquiritigenin increased the percentage of cells with depolarized mitochondrial membranes, in a concentration-dependent manner (P<.05). Isoliquiritigenin induced the release of cytochrome c and Smac/Diablo from the mitochondria into the cytoplasm (P<.05). Isoliquiritigenin dose-dependently increased the levels of cleaved caspsase-9, caspase-7, caspase-3 and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (P<.05). The present results indicate that ISL inhibits prostate cancer cell growth by the induction of apoptosis, which is mediated through mitochondrial events, which are associated with an evident disruption of the mitochondrial membrane potential, and the release of cytochrome c and Smac/Diablo, and the activation of caspase-9.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)689-696
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Nutritional Biochemistry
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Oct

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported by the Basic Research Program of the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation (R01-2004-000-10177-0), research grants from the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation (KOSEF) for Biofoods Research Program, Ministry of Science and Technology, and a research grant from Hallym University, Korea.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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