2017 Volume 40 Issue 10 Pages 1779-1783
Persistent inhalation of mitragynine (MG), a major alkaloid in the leaves of Mitragyna speciosa, causes various systemic adverse effects such as seizure, diarrhea and arthralgias, but its toxicity to endothelial cells and effects on barrier function of the cells are poorly understood. In this study, we compared toxicities of MG and mitraphylline, another constituent of the leaves, against human aortic endothelial (HAE), bronchial BEAS-2B, neuronal SK-N-SH, hepatic HepG2, kidney HEK293, gastric MKN45, colon DLD1, lung A549, breast MCF7 and prostate LNCaP cells, and found that MG, but not mitraphylline, shows higher toxicity to HAE cells compared to the other cells. Forty-eight-hours incubation of HAE cells with a high concentration of MG (60 µM) provoked apoptotic cell death, which was probably due to signaling through enhanced reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and resultant caspase activation. Treatment of the cells with MG at sublethal concentrations less than 20 µM significantly lowered transendothelial electrical resistance and elevated paracellular permeability, without affecting the cell viability. In addition, the MG-elicited lowering of the resistance was abolished by a ROS inhibitor N-acetyl-L-cysteine and augmented by H2O2 and 9,10-phenanthrenequinone, which generates ROS through its redox cycle. These results suggest the contribution of ROS generation to the increase in endothelial barrier permeability.