Original Article

Blocking the utilization of glucose induces the switch from senescence to apoptosis in pseudolaric acid B-treated human lung cancer cells in vitro

Authors: Guo-dong YAO, Jing YANG, Xiu-xiu LI, Xiao-yu SONG, Toshihiko HAYASHI, Shin-ichi TASHIRO, Satoshi ONODERA, Shao-jiang SONG, Takashi IKEJIMA


Pseudolaric acid B (PAB), a diterpene acid isolated from the root bark of Pseudolarix kaempferi Gordon, exerts anti-tumor effects in several cancer cell lines. Our previous study showed that PAB mainly induced senescence via p53-p21 activation rather than apoptosis in suppression of the growth of human lung cancer A549 cells (p53 wild-type). In p53-null human lung cancer H1299 cells, however, PAB caused apoptosis without senescence. In this study we investigated what mechanism was responsible for the switch from senescence to apoptosis in PAB-treated human lung cancer cell lines. Senescent cells were examined by SA-β-gal staining. Glucose uptake and the apoptosis ratio were assessed using a FACScan flow cytometer. Commercial assay kits were used to measure the levels of ATP and lactate. Transfection of siRNA was used to knockdown the expression of p53 or p21. Western blot analysis was applied to measure the protein expression levels. In p53 wild-type A549 cells, PAB (20 μmol/L) caused senescence, and time-dependently increased glucose utilization; knockdown of p53 or p21 significantly decreased the uptake and metabolism of glucose but elevated PAB-induced apoptosis. Inhibition of glucose utilization using a glycolytic inhibitor 2-DG (1 mmol/L) significantly enhanced apoptosis induction. Similar results were observed in another p53 wild-type H460 cells treated with PAB. Opposite results were found in p53-null H1299 cells, where PAB time-dependently decreased glucose utilization, and induced only apoptosis. Our results demonstrate that PAB-induced senescence is associated with enhanced glucose utilization, and lower glucose utilization might contribute to apoptosis induction. Thus, blocking glucose utilization contributes to the switch from senescence to apoptosis, and p53 plays an important role in this process.