Objectives: To focus on bee venom-induced apoptosis in human bladder cancer TSGH-8301 cells and to investigate its signaling pathway to ascertain whether intracellular calcium iron (Ca 2+) is involved in this effect. Methods: Bee venom-induced cytotoxic effects, productions of reactive oxygen species and Ca 2+ and the level of mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm) were analyzed by flow cytometry. Apoptosis-associated proteins were examined by Western blot analysis and confocal laser microscopy. Results: Bee venom-induced cell morphological changes and decreased cell viability through the induction of apoptosis in TSGH-8301 cell were found. Bee venom promoted the protein levels of Bax, caspase-9, caspase-3 and endonuclease G. The enhancements of endoplasmic reticulum stress-related protein levels were shown in bee venom-provoked apoptosis of TSGH-8301 cells. Bee venom promoted the activities of caspase-3, caspase-8, and caspase-9, increased Ca 2+ release and decreased the level of ΔΨm. Co-localization of immunofluorescence analysis showed the releases of endonuclease G and apoptosis-inducing factor trafficking to nuclei for bee venom-mediated apoptosis. The images revealed evidence of nuclear condensation and formation of apoptotic bodies by 4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole staining and DNA gel electrophoresis showed the DNA fragmentation in TSGH-8301 cells. Conclusions: Bee venom treatment induces both caspase-dependent and caspase-independent apoptotic death through intracellular Ca 2+-modulated intrinsic death pathway in TSGH-8301 cells.
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