2008 Volume 31 Issue 5 Pages 1024-1028
Costunolide, isolated from the stem bark of Magnolia sieboldii, is a sesquiterpene lactone that exhibits various biological and immunological actions. We investigated the induction mechanism of apoptosis by costunolide in a human B cell leukemia NALM-6 cell culture system. Costunolide (10 μM)-induced apoptosis time-dependently increased, estimated by nuclear damage observation and flow cytometric analysis. Costunolide did not change Fas-associated factor 1 (FAF1), but the phosphorylation of Fas-associated death domain (FADD) at serine 194 increased from early treatment. The activation of caspase-8 and -9 and degradation of poly-(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) was time-dependently detected by incubation with costunolide. Pretreatment of cells with caspase-3, -8 and broad spectrum caspase inhibitors significantly blocked costunolide-induced apoptosis, but caspase-9 inhibitor failed to block apoptosis. Telomerase activity was significantly suppressed after treatment with costunolide, and human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT), a critical determinant of the enzyme activity of telomerase, decreased the expression of both mRNA and protein levels by costunolide. Costunolide-induced repression of telomerase was prevented by pretreatment of cells with caspase-3, -8 and broad spectrum caspase inhibitors, but caspase-9 inhibitor was no effect. These data suggest that one of the costunolide-induced apoptotic mechanisms is that the receptor-mediated pathway precedes the mitochondria-dependent pathway, caused by the inhibition of telomerase activity via suppression of hTERT in NALM-6 cells.