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Purpose: To investigate the anti-cancer potential of astaxanthin from Litopenaeus vannamei encapsulated in liposomes (ASX) to treat lung cancer A549 cells.
Methods: Lung adenocarcinoma A549 cells were cultured and treated with ASX, following which cell viability and nuclear staining were performed. Generation of ROS was identified by the DCFH-DA assay while tetramethylrhodamine ethyl ester was used to determine the mitochondrial membrane potential. Flow cytometry was applied to investigate caspase-3/7 activity and cell cycle distribution.
Results: ASX inhibited growth of A549 in a concentration- and time- dependent manner. The IC50 values at 24, 48 and 72 h were 53.73, 22.85, 17.46 μg/mL, respectively (p < 0.05). After incubation with ASX, the morphological changes were observed in A549 cells following Hoechst 33342/PI fluorescent staining. ASX increased ROS generation and was associated with the collapse of mitochondrial membrane potential, which subsequently triggered the activation of caspase-3/7 activity leading to apoptosis (p < 0.05). In addition, A549 cells accumulated in the G0/G1 phase.
Conclusion: The results suggest that ASX is a valuable nutraceutical agent to target A549 lung cancer cells via ROS-dependent pathway as well as blockage of cell cycle progression.
Keywords: Astaxanthin, Litopenaeus vannamei, Lung cancer, A549, Apoptosis