β-sitosterol induces G1 arrest and causes depolarization of mitochondrial membrane potential in breast carcinoma MDA-MB-231 cells
1 School of Life Sciences, Central University of Gujarat, Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India
2 Cancer and Radiation Biology Laboratory, School of Life Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India
BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013, 13:280 doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-280Published: 25 October 2013
It is suggested that dietary phytosterols, such as β-sitosterol (ST), have cancer chemopreventive effects; however, studies are limited to support such claims. Here, we evaluated the efficacy of ST on three different human cancer cell lines including skin epidermoid carcinoma A431 cells, lung epithelial carcinoma A549 cells and breast adenocarcinoma MDA-MB-231.
Cell growth assay, cell cycle analysis, FACS, JC-1 staining, annexin V staining and immunoblotting were used to study the efficacy of ST on cancer cells.
ST (30–90 μM) treatments for 48 h and 72 h did not show any significant effect on cell growth and death in A431 cells. Whereas similar ST treatments moderately inhibited the growth of A549 cells by up to 13% (p ≤ 0.05) in 48 h and 14% (p ≤ 0.05-0.0001) in 72 h. In MDA-MB-231 cells, ST caused a significant dose-dependent cell growth inhibition by 31- 63% (p ≤ 0.0001) in 48 h and 40-50% (p ≤ 0.0001) in 72 h. While exploring the molecular changes associated with strong ST efficacy in breast cancer cells, we observed that ST induced cell cycle arrest as well as cell death. ST caused G0/G1 cell cycle arrest which was accompanied by a decrease in CDK4 and cyclin D1, and an increase in p21/Cip1and p27/Kip1 protein levels. Further, cell death effect of ST was associated with induction of apoptosis. ST also caused the depolarization of mitochondrial membrane potential and increased Bax/Bcl-2 protein ratio.
These results suggest prominent in vitro anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic effects of ST in MDA-MB-231 cells. This study provides valuable insight into the chemopreventive efficacy and associated molecular alterations of ST in breast cancer cells whereas it had only moderate efficacy on lung cancer cells and did not show any considerable effect on skin cancer cells. These findings would form the basis for further studies to understand the mechanisms and assess the potential utility of ST as a cancer chemopreventive agent against breast cancer.