DNA and cell biology

Crocin triggers the apoptosis through increasing the Bax/Bcl-2 ratio and caspase activation in human gastric adenocarcinoma, AGS, cells.

PMID 23347444


We previously showed the anticancer property of crocin, a carotenoid isolated and purified from saffron against chemical-induced gastric and breast cancer in rats. In this study, the mechanism of crocin action was investigated in the gastric adenocarcinoma (AGS) cells in comparison with human normal fibroblast skin cells (HFSF-PI3). Crocin revealed a dose- and time-dependent cytotoxic effect against an AGS cell line, as determined by 3-(4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay. Crocin-induced apoptosis was evidenced by flow cytometry and measuring caspase activity. The increased sub-G1 population and activated caspases in the treated AGS cells confirmed its anticancer effect. Expression of both Bax and Bcl-2 was determined using a semiquantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and Western blot in these cells before and after treatment with crocin. Apoptosis was significantly stimulated as indicated by increasing the Bax/Bcl-2 ratio after crocin treatment. All of the above-mentioned parameters remained normal in HFSF-PI3 treated with crocin. These data are providing insight into the molecular mechanisms underlying the crocin-induced apoptosis in the AGS cells, rendering it as the potential anticancer agent.