International journal of oncology (June 2013)
Kaempferol induces autophagy through AMPK and AKT signaling molecules and causes G2/M arrest via downregulation of CDK1/cyclin B in SK-HEP-1 human hepatic cancer cells. Kaempferol belongs to the flavonoid family and has been used in traditional folk medicine. Here, we investigated the antitumor effects of kaempferol on cell cycle arrest and autophagic cell death in SK-HEP-1 human hepatic cancer cells. Kaempferol decreased cell viability as determined by MTT assays and induced a G2/M phase cell cycle arrest in a concentration-dependent manner. Kaempferol did not induce DNA fragmentation, apoptotic bodies or caspase-3 activity in SK-HEP-1 cells as determined by DNA gel electrophoresis, DAPI staining and caspase-3 activity assays, respectively. In contrast, kaempferol is involved in the autophagic process. Double-membrane vacuoles, lysosomal compartments, acidic vesicular organelles and cleavage of microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 (LC3) were observed by transmission electron microscopy, Lyso?racker red staining, GFP-fluorescent LC3 assays and acridine orange staining, respectively. In SK-HEP-1 cells, kaempferol increased the protein levels of p-AMPK, LC3-II, , Atg 7, Atg 12 and beclin 1 as well as inhibited the protein levels of CDK1, cyclin B, p-AKT and p-mTOR. Taken together, CDK1/cyclin B expression and the AMPK and AKT signaling pathways contributed to kaempferol-induced G2/M cell cycle arrest and autophagic cell death in SK-HEP-1 human hepatic cancer cells. These results suggest that kaempferol may be useful for long-term cancer prevention.