Different Effects of Genistein on Molecular Markers Related to Apoptosis in Two Phenotypically Dissimilar Breast Cancer Cell Lines

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
George Loo, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/

Abstract: The association between consumption of genistein-containing soybean products and lower risk of breast cancer suggests a cancer chemopreventive role for genistein. Consistent with this suggestion, exposing cultured human breast cancer cells to genistein inhibits cell proliferation, although this is not completely understood. To better understand how genistein works, the ability of genistein to induce apoptosis was compared in phenotypically dissimilar MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells that express the wild-type and mutant p53 gene, respectively. After 6 days of incubation with 50 µM genistein, MCF-7 but not MDA-MB-231 cells, showed morphological signs of apoptosis. Marginal proteolytic cleavage of poly-(ADP-ribose)-polymerase and significant DNA fragmentation were also detected in MCF-7 cells. In elucidating these findings, it was determined that after 2 days of incubation with genistein, MCF-7 but not MDA-MB-231 cells, had significantly higher levels of p53. Accordingly, the expression of certain proteins modulated by p53 was studied next. Levels of p21 increased in both of the genistein-treated cell lines, suggesting that p21 gene expression was activated but in a p53-independent manner, whereas no significant changes in levels of the pro-apoptotic protein, Bax, were found. In MCF-7 cells, levels of the anti-apoptotic protein, Bcl-2, decreased slightly at 18-24 h but then increased considerably after 48 h. Hence, the Bax:Bcl-2 ratio initially increased but later decreased. These data suggest that at the genistein concentration tested, MCF-7 cells in contrast to MDA-MB-231 cells were sensitive to the induction of apoptosis by genistein, but Bax and Bcl-2 did not play clear roles.

Additional Information

Journal of Cellular Biochemistry, 82, 78-88.
Language: English
Date: 2001
Apoptosis, Bax, Bcl-2, Breast cancer, Genistein, p21; p53

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