Molecular and cellular biochemistry

Combined treatment with quercetin and imperatorin as a potent strategy for killing HeLa and Hep-2 cells.

PMID 24682729


The aim of the present study was to assess the effect of quercetin and imperatorin administered separately and in combination on apoptosis and autophagy induction in human cervical carcinoma HeLa cells and laryngeal carcinoma Hep-2 cells cultured in vitro. Conducted MTT measurements proved that quercetin and imperatorin displayed a strong antiproliferative activity manifested in markedly reduction of HeLa and Hep-2 cells viability as a result of treatment with 50xa0μM of each compound. Further cell staining assays revealed that concentration mentioned above generated the highest percentage of apoptotic cells especially in the case of application of both drugs for 48xa0h. Simultaneous quercetin and imperatorin administration induced apoptosis remarkably stronger than treatment with single drugs. Experiments at the molecular level confirmed these results accompanied with the decreased Hsp27 and Hsp72 expression and, in addition, with increased caspases activity. Autophagy was not observed and no significant changes in the expression of beclin-1 were noticed. Additionally, experiments were performed on the above-mentioned cell lines with blocked Hsp27 and Hsp72 expression. In these cells, no significant changes in the sensitivity to apoptosis induction upon quercetin and imperatorin treatment were observed. The present study has provided evidence supporting the potential of the combination of quercetin and imperatorin drugs as a novel tool to be used in anticancer therapy. Our results have also demonstrated that blocking of the Hsp27 and Hsp72 gene expression is not enough to sensitize cancer cells to programmed cell death induction in HeLa and Hep-2 cells.