Telomerase activation is detected in most cancerous cells; hence, telomerase is a highly selective target for cancer therapy, which plays an important role in the apoptotic process. We have previously reported that the ginseng saponin metabolite, Compound K (20-O-D-glucopyranosyl-20(S)-protopanaxadiol, IH901), inhibits cell proliferation by inducing apoptosis and cell cycle arrest at the G1 phase. The present study investigated the regulation of telomerase activity in Compound K treated U937 cells. Compound K treatment caused a reduction in telomerase activity and down-regulated the human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) gene, resulting in the decreased expressions of its protein, and of the c-Myc and Sp1 proteins (transcription factors of hTERT). These results indicate that the anticancer activity of Compound K could be mediated by inhibition of the telomerase activity.
- Compound K
- Human telomerase reverse transcriptase