Fucoidan induces apoptosis through activation of caspase-8 on human breast cancer MCF-7 cells

Yumi Yamasaki-Miyamoto, Masao Yamasaki, Hirofumi Tachibana, Koji Yamada

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150 Citations (Scopus)


Fucoidan is an active component of seaweed that has been shown to inhibit proliferation and induce apoptotic cell death in several tumor cells. However, the detailed mechanisms underlying this process have not yet been elucidated. In the present report, we investigated the effect of fucoidan on the induction of apoptosis in human breast cancer MCF-7 cells. Our data demonstrated that fucoidan reduced the viable cell number of MCF-7 cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner. In contrast, fucoidan did not affect the viable cell number of normal human mammary epithelial cells. Results from the apoptosis assay demonstrated that fucoidan induced internucleosomal DNA fragmentation, chromatin condensation, activation of caspase-7, -8, and -9, and cleavage of poly(ADP ribose) polymerase. Furthermore, expression of Bid was decreased, whereas truncated Bid was increased by fucoidan treatment. There was also a decline in cytosolic Bax and a striking increase of cytosolic cytochrome c. Caspase-8-specific inhibitor, z-ITED-fmk, canceled the cytotoxicity of fucoidan, activation of caspase-7, -8, and -9, and a series of changes in Bax, Bid, and cytochrome c. However, caspase-9-specific inhibitor exerted a moderate inhibitory effect on the cytotoxicity of fucoidan. These data indicated that fucoidan could induce apoptotic cell death through a caspase-8-dependent pathway in MCF-7 cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8677-8682
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - Sept 23 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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