Salvianolic Acid B Inhibits Growth of Cervical Cancer Cells in vitro via Induction of Apoptosis through the Extrinsic Pathway

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Mears, Brian
Shiao, Frank
Toney, Nick
Chen, Chia-Min
Choi, Kyujoo
Chow, Cynthia
Navin, Melissa
Shiau, Hubert
Briken, Volker
In 2014 alone, over 12,000 women are expected to be diagnosed with cervical cancer. Of these women who are diagnosed, about 3,909 will result in death. Despite developments in prevention methods, cervical cancer remains a major health concern for women. Growing evidence suggests that Salvianolic acid B (Sal B), a major component of the Chinese herb Danshen, may inhibit cancer cell growth and help fight against cervical cancer. This study characterizes the potential of Sal B as a cervical cancer drug through in vitro testing on HeLa cells. We hypothesized that application of Sal B to HeLa cells will result in decreased cell viability and increased apoptosis in a dose dependent manner. HeLa cells were treated with varying concentrations of Sal B: 25µM, 50µM, 100µM, and 200µM. Cell viability was determined through colony formation assay, cell death ELISA, and nuclear morphology. An inhibitor study was also conducted for further apoptosis pathway analysis. Colony formation assay demonstrated a significant decrease in cell viability with increasing concentrations of Sal B with 75% viability at 50µM down to 0% viability at 200µM. Cell death ELISA and the analysis of nuclear morphology via Hoechst staining reported significant levels of apoptosis at concentrations equal to 50µM and greater. Furthermore, experiments using caspase inhibitors indicated that Sal B’s apoptotic effects are caspase-8 dependent. In conclusion, our results demonstrate that Sal B inhibits cancer cell growth by a mechanism that involves apoptosis induction through the extrinsic pathway.