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Journal of Cancer Prevention

Original Article

Cancer prevention research 2010; 15(4): 347-357

Published online December 30, 2010

© Korean Society of Cancer Prevention

Apoptosis Induction of Human Leukemia U937 Cells by Water Extract of Wild Ganoderma lucidum Spores

Ji Cheng Cui1, Yong Cui1, Mei Hua Huang1, Hye Jeong Kim2, Cheng Yun Jin3, Cheol Park4, Yung Hyun Choi2,3,4 and Byung-Woo Kim3,4,5


The mushroom Ganoderma lucidum, a lamellaless basidio-mycetous fungus belonging to the family Polyporaceae, is widely distributed in Korea, Japan and China, and has been used as a medicinal material for allergy, arthritis, bronchitis, gastric ulcer, hyperglycemia, hypertension, chronic hepatitis, hepatopathy, insomnia, nephritis, neurasthenia, scleroderma and inflammation. In addition, G. lucidum has been known to exert anti-cancer activities in many human cancer cells, but the cellular and molecular mechanism of this effect is poorly understood in human leukemia cells. In the present study, we investigated the pro-apoptotic effects of water extract of wild Ganoderma lucidum spores (WEGL) in human leukemia U937 cells. It was found that exposure of U937 cells to WEGL resulted in the growth inhibition in a dose-dependent manner as measured by trypan blue count and MTT assay. The anti-proliferative effect of WEGL treatment in U937 cells was associated with apoptotic cell death such as increased populations of apoptotic-sub G1 phase, formation of apoptotic bodies, DNA fragmentation and increased the percentage of cells with depolized mitochondrial membrane. The induction of apoptotic cell death by WEGL was connected with a up-regulation of pro-apoptotic Bax expression and down-regulation of X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP). In addition, WEGL treatment inhibited the levels of pro-caspase-3 and a concomitant degradation of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP). Taken together, the present results suggest that WEGL may be a potential chemotherapeutic agent for the control of human leukemia U937 cells and further studies will be needed to identify the active compounds. (Cancer Prev Res 15, 347-357, 2010)

Keywords: WEGL, U937, Apoptosis, Caspase-3

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