Enhancement of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3- and all-trans retinoic acid-induced HL-60 leukemia cell differentiation by Panax ginseng

Published on Friday, 21 February 2014


Ginseng (Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer) has a wide range of therapeutic uses including cancer treatment.

Human promyelocytic leukemia cells differentiate into monocytes or granulocytes when treated with 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D(3) [1,25-(OH)(2)D(3)] or all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA).

Treatment of HL-60 cells with zero to 100 microg/ml of a methanol extract of ginseng for 72 h induced a small increase in cell differentiation.

Surprisingly, a synergistic induction of differentiation was observed when HL-60 cells were treated with ATRA or 1,25-(OH)(2)D(3) and the extract. The inhibitors of protein kinase C (PKC) and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), but not of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3-K), inhibited the HL-60 differentiation induced by the extract in combination with ATRA or 1,25-(OH)(2)D(3), signifying that PKC and ERK were involved in the cell differentiation enhancement by the extract.

These results suggest that the ability of a methanol extract of ginseng to enhance the differentiation potential of ATRA or 1,25-(OH)(2)D(3) may improve the ultimate outcome of acute promyelocytic leukemia therapy.



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