Int J Oral Biol.  2019 Sep;44(3):81-88. 10.11620/IJOB.2019.44.3.81.

Trifolium pratense induces apoptosis through caspase pathway in FaDu human hypopharynx squamous carcinoma cells

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Oral Biochemistry, College of Dentistry, Chosun University, Gwangju 61452, Republic of Korea. cskim2@chosun.ac.kr
  • 2Department of Dental Hygiene, College of Health and Welfare, Kyungwoon University, Gumi 39160, Republic of Korea.

Abstract

Trifolium pratense leaves (red clover) has been used in Oriental and European folk medicine for the treatment of whooping cough, asthma, and eczema, and is now being used to treat and alleviate the symptoms, such as hot flushes, cardiovascular health effects that occur in postmenopausal women. However, relatively little scientific data is available on the physiological activity of this plant. Therefore, in this study, we investigated the anti-cancer activity of T. pratense leaves using methanol extract of T. pratense leaves (MeTP) on human FaDu hypopharyngeal squamous carcinoma cells. MeTP inhibited the viability of FaDu cells by inducing apoptosis through the cleavage of procaspase-3, -7, and -9 and poly (adenosine diphosphate ribose-ribose) polymerase (PARP), downregulation of Bcl-2, and upregulation of Bax, as determined by the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay, Live & dead assay, 4′6-diamidino-2-phenylindole stain, fluorescence-activated cell sorting analysis, and Western blot analysis. In addition, colony formation was slightly inhibited when FaDu cells were treated with a non-cytotoxic concentration (0.125 mg/mL) of MeTP and almost completely inhibited when cells were treated with 0.25 mg/mL MeTP. Collectively, these results indicate that MeTP induced cell apoptosis via caspase- and mitochondrial-dependent apoptotic pathways, and inhibited colony formation of cancer cells in FaDu human hypopharyngeal squamous carcinoma cells. These findings suggest MeTP should be considered for clinical development as a chemotherapeutic option in oral cancer.

Keyword

Oral cancer; Trifolium pratense; Apoptosis
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