Piperlongumine induces apoptosis and autophagy in leukemic cells through targeting the PI3K/Akt/mTOR and p38 signaling pathways
- Hongfei Wang
- Yongqiang Wang
- Hongmei Gao
- Bing Wang
- Lin Dou
- Yin Li
Published online on: November 29, 2017
Copyright: © Wang et al.
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution License.
Piperlongumine is an alkaloid compound extracted from Piper longum L. It is a chemical substance with various pharmacological effects and medicinal value, including anti‑tumor, lipid metabolism regulatory, antiplatelet aggregation and analgesic properties. The present study aimed to understand whether piperlongumine induces the apoptosis and autophagy of leukemic cells, and to identify the mechanism involved. Cell viability and autophagy were detected using MTT, phenazine methyl sulfate and trypan blue exclusion assays. The apoptosis rate was calculated using flow cytometry. The protein expression levels of microtubule‑associated protein 1A/1B‑light chain 3, Akt and mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) were measured using western blotting. The cell growth of leukemic cells was completely inhibited following treatment with piperlongumine, and marked apoptosis was also induced. Dead cells as a result of autophagy were stained using immunofluorescence and observed under a light microscope. Phosphoinositide 3‑kinase (PI3K)/Akt/mTOR signaling was suppressed by treatment with piperlongumine, while p38 signaling and caspase‑3 activity were induced by treatment with piperlongumine. It was concluded that piperlongumine induces apoptosis and autophagy in leukemic cells through targeting the PI3K/Akt/mTOR and p38 signaling pathways.