2009 Volume 32 Issue 10 Pages 1760-1764
The antitumor activity of fucoidan from Fucus vesiculosus was investigated in human colon carcinoma cells. The crude fucoidan, a polysaccharide composed predominantly of sulfated fucose, markedly inhibited the growth of HCT-15 cells (human colon carcinoma cells). After HCT-15 cells were treated with fucoidan, several apoptotic events such as DNA fragmentation, chromatin condensation and increase of the population of sub-G1 hypodiploid cells were observed. In the mechanism of fucoidan-induced apoptosis, we examined changes in Bcl-2 and Bax protein expression levels and activation of caspases. Fucoidan decreased Bcl-2 expression, whereas the expression of Bax was increased in a time-dependent manner compared to the control. In addition, the active forms of caspase-9 and caspase-3 were increased, and the cleavage of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP), a vital substrate of effector caspase, was observed. Furthermore, the induction of apoptosis was also accompanied by a strong activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and p38 kinase and an inactivation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt in a time-dependent manner. These findings provide evidence demonstrating that the pro-apoptotic effect of fucoidan is mediated through the activation of ERK, p38 and the blocking of the PI3K/Akt signal pathway in HCT-15 cells. These data support the hypothesis that fucoidan may have potential in colon cancer treatment.