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Bufalin Induces Apoptosis and Improves the Sensitivity of Human Glioma Stem-Like Cells to Temozolamide

Jia Liu*, Ying Zhang, Shulan Sun, Guirong Zhang, Ke Jiang,§ Peixin Sun*, Ye Zhang*, Bing Yao*, Rui Sui*, Yi Chen*, Xu Guo*, Tao Tang*, Ji Shi*, Haiyang Liang*, Haozhe Piao*

* Department of Neurosurgery, Cancer Hospital of China Medical University, Liaoning Cancer Hospital & Institute, Shenyang, Liaoning Province, P.R. China
† Liaoning University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shenyang, Liaoning Province, P.R. China
‡ Central Laboratory, Cancer Hospital of China Medical University, Liaoning Cancer Hospital & Institute, Shenyang, Liaoning Province, P.R. China
§ Institute of Cancer Stem Cell, Dalian Medical University, Dalian, Liaoning Province, P.R. China

Oncology Research 2019, 27(4), 475-486. https://doi.org/10.3727/096504018X15270916676926

Abstract

Glioma is the most common malignant tumor of the central nervous system, and it is characterized by high relapse and fatality rates and poor prognosis. Bufalin is one of the main ingredients of Chan-su, a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) extracted from toad venom. Previous studies revealed that bufalin exerted inhibitory effects on a variety of tumor cells. To demonstrate the inhibitory effect of bufalin on glioma cells and glioma stem-like cells (GSCs) and discuss the underlying mechanism, the proliferation of glioma cells was detected by MTT and colony formation assays following treatment with bufalin. In addition, we investigated whether bufalin inhibits or kills GSCs using flow cytometry, Western blotting, and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction analysis (RT-PCR). Finally, we investigated whether bufalin could improve the therapeutic effect of temozolomide (TMZ) and discussed the underlying mechanism. Taken together, our data demonstrated that bufalin inhibits glioma cell growth and proliferation, inhibits GSC proliferation, and kills GSCs. Bufalin was found to induce the apoptosis of GSCs by upregulating the expression of the apoptotic proteins cleaved caspase 3 and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) and by downregulating the expression of human telomerase reverse transcriptase, which is a marker of telomerase activity. Bufalin also improved the inhibitory effect of TMZ on GSCs by activating the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway. These results suggest that bufalin damages GSCs, induces apoptosis, and enhances the sensitivity of GSCs to TMZ.

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Cite This Article

Liu, J., Zhang, Y., Sun, S., Zhang, G., Jiang,§, K. et al. (2019). Bufalin Induces Apoptosis and Improves the Sensitivity of Human Glioma Stem-Like Cells to Temozolamide. Oncology Research, 27(4), 475–486.



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