Adv Pharm Bull. 2015;5(3): 351-359.
doi: 10.15171/apb.2015.049
PMID: 26504757
PMCID: PMC4616902
Scopus ID: 84983573942
  Abstract View: 2036
  PDF Download: 1455

Original Research

Doxorubicin Changes Bax /Bcl-xL Ratio, Caspase-8 and 9 in Breast Cancer Cells

Simin Sharifi 1,2, Jaleh Barar 1,3, Mohammad Saeid Hejazi 1,4*, Nasser Samadi 3,4,5*

1 Department of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Faculty of Pharmacy, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran.
2 Students' Research Committee, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran.
3 Research Center for Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran.
4 Faculty of Advanced Biomedical Sciences, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran.
5 Department of Biochemistry and Medical Laboratories, Faculty of Medicine, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran.


Purpose: Doxorubicin is administrated as a single agent in first-line therapy of breast cancer to induce apoptosis in tumor cells. Bax, Bcl-xL, Caspase-8 and 9 proteins are involved in induction of apoptosis. The present study describes Bax, Bcl-xL gene expression and Caspase-8 and 9 protein levels in MCF-7 cells incubated with doxorubicin at different doses an incubation times.

Methods: The cytotoxic effects of doxorubicin were studied using MTT assay. MCF-7 cells were treated with three concentrations of doxorubicin (0.1, 0.5, 1 μM) and incubated for 24, 48 and 72 hours then expression levels of Bax and Bcl-xL genes were elucidated by Real-time RT-PCR technique and protein levels of caspase-8 and caspase-9 proteins were measured using ELISA method. Morphological modifications of the cells were also monitored via light microscopic images.

Results: Doxorubicin decreased the anti-apoptotic Bcl-xL and increased pro-apoptotic Bax mRNA levels. Doxorubicin induced a significant increase in Bax /Bcl-xL ratio in all doses and incubation times (p<0.05). Highest (more than 10 fold) increase in Bax /Bcl-xL ratio was revealed after 48 h incubation of the cells with in all doses of doxorubicin. Doxorubicin also increased caspase-9 level in a time and dose-dependent manner, while caspase-8 level didn't follow time and dose dependency pattern.

Conclusion: Our results confirm that doxorubicin induces mitochondrial-dependent apoptosis by down-regulation of Bcl-xL and up- regulation of Bax and caspase-9 expressions.

Keywords: MCF-7, Apoptosis, Doxorubicin, Breast cancer, Bax /Bcl-xL, Caspase-9
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Submitted: 30 Jun 2014
Revision: 20 Nov 2014
ePublished: 19 Sep 2015
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