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Biochem Pharmacol. 2004 Aug 1;68(3):453-62.

Molecular mechanisms in C-Phycocyanin induced apoptosis in human chronic myeloid leukemia cell line-K562.


Department of Animal Sciences, School of Life Sciences, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad 500046, India.

C-Phycocyanin (C-PC), the major light harvesting biliprotein from Spirulina platensis is of greater importance because of its various biological and pharmacological properties.


It is a water soluble, non-toxic fluorescent protein pigment with potent anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.


In the present study the effect of highly purified C-PC was tested on growth and multiplication of human chronic myeloid leukemia cell line (K562).


The results indicate significant decrease (49%) in the proliferation of K562 cells treated with 50 microM C-PC up to 48 h.


Further studies involving fluorescence and electron microscope revealed characteristic apoptotic features like cell shrinkage, membrane blebbing and nuclear condensation.


Agarose electrophoresis of genomic DNA of cells treated with C-PC showed fragmentation pattern typical for apoptotic cells. Flow cytometric analysis of cells treated with 25 and 50 microM C-PC for 48 h showed 14.11 and 20.93% cells in sub-G0/G1 phase, respectively. C-PC treatment of K562 cells also resulted in release of cytochrome c into the cytosol and poly(ADP) ribose polymerase (PARP) cleavage.


These studies also showed down regulation of anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 but without any changes in pro-apoptotic Bax and thereby tilting the Bcl-2/Bax ratio towards apoptosis.


These effects of C-PC appear to be mediated through entry of C-PC into the cytosol by an unknown mechanism.


The present study thus demonstrates that C-PC induces apoptosis in K562 cells by cytochrome c release from mitochondria into the cytosol, PARP cleavage and down regulation of Bcl-2.



[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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