Anticancer effects of propionic acid inducing cell death in cervical cancer cells

Chau Ha Pham, Joo Eun Lee, Jinha Yu, Sung Hoon Lee, Kyung Rok Yu, Jaewoo Hong, Namki Cho, Seil Kim, Dukjin Kang, Soojin Lee, Hee Min Yoo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recent studies found that short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which are produced through bacterial fermentation in the gastrointestinal tract, have oncoprotective effects against cervical cancer. The most common SCFAs that are well known include acetic acid, butyric acid, and propionic acid, among which propionic acid (PA) has been reported to induce apoptosis in HeLa cells. However, the mechanism in which SCFAs suppress HeLa cell viability remain poorly understood. Our study aims to provide a more detailed look into the mechanism of PA in HeLa cells. Flow cytometry analysis revealed that PA induces reactive oxygen species (ROS), leading to the dysfunction of the mitochondrial membrane. Moreover, PA inhibits NF-κB and AKT/mTOR signaling pathways and induces LC3B protein levels, resulting in autophagy. PA also increased the sub-G1 cell population that is characteristic of cell death. Therefore, the results of this study propose that PA inhibits HeLa cell viability through a mechanism mediated by the induction of autophagy. The study also suggests a new approach for cervical cancer therapeutics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4951
JournalMolecules
Volume26
Issue number16
DOIs
StatePublished - 2 Aug 2021

Keywords

  • Cervical cancer
  • HeLa
  • Propionic acid
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Short-chain fatty acids

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