Antiproliferative and apoptosis inducing effects of citral via p53 and ROS-induced mitochondrial-mediated apoptosis in human colorectal HCT116 and HT29 cell lines

Bassem Y. Sheikh, Md Moklesur Rahman Sarker, Muhamad Noor Alfarizal Kamarudin, Gokula Mohan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


Despite various anticancer reports, antiproliferative and apoptosis inducing activity of citral in HCT116 and HT29 cells have never been reported. This study aimed to evaluate the cytotoxic and apoptosis inducing effects of citral in colorectal cancer cell lines. The citral-treated cells were subjected to MTT assay followed by flow cytometric Annexin V-FITC/PI, mitochondrial membrane potential and intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) determination. The apoptotic proteins expression was investigated by Western blot analysis. Citral inhibited the growth of HCT116 and HT29 cells by dose- and time-dependent manner without inducing cytotoxicity in CCD841-CoN normal colon cells. Flow cytometric analysis showed that citral (50–200 μM; 24–48 h) induced the externalization of phoshpotidylserine and reduced the mitochondrial membrane potential in HCT116 and HT29 cells. Citral elevated intracellular ROS level while attenuating GSH levels in HCT116 and HT29 cells which were reversed with N-acetycysteine (2 mM) pre-treatment indicating that citral induced mitochondrial-mediated apoptosis via augmentation of intracellular ROS. Citral induced the phosphorylation of p53 protein and the expression of Bax while decreasing Bc-2 and Bcl-xL expression which promoted the cleavage of caspase-3. Collectively, our data suggest that citral induced p53 and ROS-mediated mitochondrial-mediated apoptosis in human colorectal cancer HCT116 and HT29 cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)834-846
Number of pages13
JournalBiomedicine & Pharmacotherapy
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • Citral
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Nutraceuticals
  • p53
  • Prophetic medicine

Cite this