Induction of Apoptosis by Eugenol and Capsaicin in Human Gastric Cancer AGS Cells - Elucidating the Role of p53

  • Sarkar, Arnab (Department of Zoology, West Bengal State University) ;
  • Bhattacharjee, Shamee (Department of Zoology, West Bengal State University) ;
  • Mandal, Deba Prasad (Department of Zoology, West Bengal State University)
  • Published : 2015.10.06


Background: Loss of function of the p53 gene is implicated in defective apoptotic responses of tumors to chemotherapy. Although the pro-apoptotic roles of eugenol and capsaicin have been amply reported, their dependence on p53 for apoptosis induction in gastric cancer cells is not well elucidated. The aim of the study was to elucidate the role of p53 in the induction of apoptosis by eugenol and capsaicin in a human gastric cancer cell line, AGS. Materials and Methods: AGS cells were incubated with or without various concentrations of capsaicin and eugenol for 12 hrs, in the presence and absence of p53 siRNA. Cell cycling, annexin V and expression of apoptosis related proteins Bax, Bcl-2 ratio, p21, cyt c-caspase-9 association, caspase-3 and caspase-8 were studied. Results: In the presence of p53, capsaicin was a more potent pro-apoptotic agent than eugenol. However, silencing of p53 significantly abrogated apoptosis induced by capsaicin but not that by eugenol. Western blot analysis of pro-apoptotic markers revealed that as opposed to capsaicin, eugenol could induce caspase-8 and caspase-3 even in the absence of p53. Conclusions: Unlike capsaicin, eugenol could induce apoptosis both in presence and absence of functional p53. Agents which can induce apoptosis irrespective of the cellular p53 status have immense scope for development as potential anticancer agents.


Apoptosis;p53;eugenol;capsaicin;AGS cell line


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