Selenium has been intensively studied for the use of cancer prevention and treatment. However, the clinical effects are still plausible. To enhance its efficacy, a combinational study of selenium yeast (SY) and fish oil (FO) was performed in A549, CL1-0, H1299, HCC827 lung adenocarcinoma (LADC) cells to investigate the enhancement in apoptosis induction and underlying mechanism. By sulforhodamine B staining, Western blot and flow cytometric assays, we found a synergism between SY and FO in growth inhibition and apoptosis induction of LADC cells. In contrast, the fetal lung fibroblast cells (MRC-5) were unsusceptible to this combination effect. FO synergized SY-induced apoptosis of A549 cells, accompanied with synergistic activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and reduction of Cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 and β-catenin. Particularly, combining with FO not only enhanced the SY-elevated proapoptotic endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress marker CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein homologous protein (CHOP), but also reduced the cytoprotective glucose regulated protein of molecular weight 78 kDa (GRP78). Consequently, the CHOP downstream targets such as phospho-JNK and death receptor 5 were also elevated, along with the cleavage of caspase-8,-3, and the ER stress-related caspase-4. Accordingly, inhibition of AMPK by compound C diminished the synergistic apoptosis induction, and elevated CHOP/GRP78 ratio by SY combined with FO. The AMPK-dependent synergism suggests the combination of SY and FO for chemoprevention and integrative treatment of LADC.
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