Most cancer cells preferentially rely on glycolysis to produce the energy (adenosine triphosphate, ATP) for growth and proliferation. Emerging evidence demonstrates that the apoptosis in cancer cells could be closely associated with the inhibition of glycolysis. In this study, we have found that jolkinolide B (JB), a bioactive diterpenoid extracted from the root of Euphorbia fischeriana Steud, induced tumor cells apoptosis and decreased the production of ATP and lactic acid in mouse melanoma B16F10 cells. Furthermore, we found that JB downregulated the mRNA expression of glucose transporter genes (Glut1, Glut3 and Glut4) and glycolysis-related kinase genes (Hk2 and Ldha) in B16F10 cells. Moreover, treatment with JB upregulated the mRNA expression of pro-apoptosis genes (Bax), downregulated the mRNA expression of anti-apoptosis genes (Bcl-2, Caspase-3 and Caspase-9), decreased the potential of mitochondrial membrane and increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels in B16F10 cells. Finally, intragastric administration of JB suppressed tumor growth and induced tumor apoptosis in mouse xenograft model of murine melanoma B16F10 cells. Taken together, these results suggest that JB could induce apoptosis through the mitochondrial pathway and inhibit tumor growth. The inhibition of glycolysis could play a crucial role in the induction of apoptosis in JB-treated B16F10 cells.
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