Cyanidin-3-rutinoside, a natural polyphenol antioxidant, selectively kills leukemic cells by induction of oxidative stress

Rentian Feng, Hong Min Ni, Shiow Y. Wang, Irina L. Tourkova, Michael R. Shurin, Hisashi Harada, Xiao Ming Yin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

162 Scopus citations


Anthocyanins are a group of naturally occurring phenolic compounds widely available in fruits and vegetables in human diets. They have broad biological activities including antimutagenesis and anticarcinogenesis, which are generally attributed to their antioxidant activities. We studied the effects and the mechanisms of the most common type of anthocyanins, cyanidin-3-rutinoside, in several leukemia and lymphoma cell lines. We found that cyanidin-3-rutinoside extracted and purified from the black raspberry cultivar Jewel induced apoptosis in HL-60 cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Paradoxically, this compound induced the accumulation of peroxides, which are involved in the induction of apoptosis in HL-60 cells. In addition, cyanidin-3-rutinoside treatment resulted in reactive oxygen species (ROS)-dependent activation of p38 MAPK and JNK, which contributed to cell death by activating the mitochondrial pathway mediated by Bim. Down-regulation of Bim or overexpression of Bcl-2 or Bcl-xL considerably blocked apoptosis. Notably, cyanidin-3-rutinoside treatment did not lead to increased ROS accumulation in normal human peripheral blood mononuclear cells and had no cytotoxic effects on these cells. These results indicate that cyanidin-3-rutinoside has the potential to be used in leukemia therapy with the advantages of being widely available and selective against tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13468-13476
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number18
StatePublished - May 4 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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