Triptolide induces mitochondria-mediated apoptosis of Burkitt's lymphoma cell via deacetylation of GSK-3β by increased SIRT3 expression

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Burkitt's lymphoma (BL) is a highly aggressive B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma with rapid growth and dissemination propensity. Triptolide (TP), an active component extracted from Chinese herb Tripterygium wilfordii Hook f., has broad-spectrum anti-tumor activities. This study aimed to explore the in vitro and in vivo anti-cancer effects of TP on BL and the potential molecular mechanisms.

In this study, the in vitro anti-tumor activity of TP was determined by CCK-8 and flow cytometry assays in Raji, NAMALWA and Daudi cells. The expression of SIRT3, phosphorylation and acetylation of glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β) were analyzed by Western blot assay. Moreover, we examined the mitochondrial membrane potential by JC-1 method and measured apoptosis related protein using Western blot assay. BL xenograft model in NOD/SCID mice were established to evaluate the in vivo anti-cancer effect of TP.

We discovered that TP inhibited BL cell growth and induced apoptosis in a dose-dependent manner. Loss of SIRT3 provides growth advances for BL cells. However, TP could up-regulate SIRT3 expression, which resulted in suppression of BL cells proliferation. GSK-3β was activated by SIRT3-mediated deacetylation, which subsequently induced mitochondrial translocation and accumulation of Bax and decrease of mitochondrial membrane potential. Anti-tumor studies in vivo showed that TP (0.36 mg/kg) inhibited the growth of BL xenografts in NOD/SCID mice with an inhibitory rate of 73.13%.

Our data revealed that TP triggered mitochondrial apoptotic pathway in BL by increasing SIRT3 expression and activating SIRT3/GSK-3β/Bax pathway. This study indicated that TP is a potential anti-cancer Chinese herbal medicine against BL.

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