|Quercetin induces protective autophagy in gastric cancer cells: involvement of Akt-mTOR- and hypoxia-induced factor 1α-mediated signaling.|
Kui Wang,Rui Liu,Jingyi Li,Jiali Mao,Yunlong Lei,Jinhua Wu,Jun Zeng,Tao Zhang,Hong Wu,Lijuan Chen,Canhua Huang,Yuquan Wei
Quercetin, a dietary antioxidant present in fruits and vegetables, is a promising cancer chemopreventive agent that inhibits tumor promotion by inducing cell cycle arrest and promoting apoptotic cell death. In this study, we examined the biological activities of quercetin against gastric cancer. Our studies demonstrated that exposure of gastric cancer cells AGS and MKN28 to quercetin resulted in pronounced pro-apoptotic effect through activating the mitochondria pathway. Meanwhile, treatment with quercetin induced appearance of autophagic vacuoles, formation of acidic vesicular organelles (AVOs), conversion of LC3-I to LC3-II, recruitment of LC3-II to the autophagosomes as well as activation of autophagy genes, suggesting that quercetin initiates the autophagic progression in gastric cancer cells. Furthermore, either administration of autophagic inhibitor chloroquine or selective ablation of atg5 or beclin 1 using small interfering RNA (siRNA) could augment quercetin-induced apoptotic cell death, suggesting that autophagy plays a protective role against quercetin-induced apoptosis. Moreover, functional studies revealed that quercetin activated autophagy by modulation of Akt-mTOR signaling and hypoxia-induced factor 1α (HIF-1α) signaling. Finally, a xenograft model provided additional evidence for occurrence of quercetin-induced apoptosis and autophagy in vivo. Together, our studies provided new insights regarding the biological and anti-proliferative activities of quercetin against gastric cancer, and may contribute to rational utility and pharmacological study of quercetin in future anti-cancer research.