Journal of Natural Medicines

, Volume 72, Issue 2, pp 503–513 | Cite as

Cypripedin, a phenanthrenequinone from Dendrobium densiflorum, sensitizes non-small cell lung cancer H460 cells to cisplatin-mediated apoptosis

  • Onsurang Wattanathamsan
  • Surassawadee Treesuwan
  • Boonchoo Sritularak
  • Varisa PongrakhananonEmail author
Original Paper


The life-threatening potential of lung cancer has increased over the years due to its acquisition of chemotherapeutic resistance, especially to cisplatin, a first-line therapy. In response to this development, researchers have turned their attention to several compounds derived from natural origins, including cypripedin (CYP), a phenanthrenequinone substance extracted from Dendrobium densiflorum. The aim of the present study was to investigate the ability of CYP to induce apoptosis and enhance cisplatin-mediated death of human lung cancer NCI-H460 cells using cell viability and apoptosis assays. The induction of apoptosis by CYP was observed at a concentration of > 50 μM with the appearance of morphological changes, including DNA condensation and chromatin fragmentation. Together with, CYP was able to activate caspase-3 and downregulate the anti-apoptotic proteins Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL. Also, a non-cytotoxic dose of CYP synergistically potentiated the effect of cisplatin in non-small cell lung cancer line H460 cells, which clearly exhibited the apoptotic phenotype. Western blot analysis revealed that the underlying mechanism involved the downregulation of anti-apoptotic Bcl-xL, whereas the levels of other apoptotic regulatory proteins were not altered. This study provides interesting information on the potent effect of CYP as a chemotherapeutic sensitizer that could be further developed to improve the clinical outcomes of lung cancer patients.


Apoptosis Cisplatin Cypripedin Lung cancer 



This research was supported by the Ratchadaphiseksomphot Endowment Fund, Chulalongkorn University.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© The Japanese Society of Pharmacognosy and Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Onsurang Wattanathamsan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Surassawadee Treesuwan
    • 2
    • 3
  • Boonchoo Sritularak
    • 4
  • Varisa Pongrakhananon
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Inter-department Program of Pharmacology, Graduate SchoolChulalongkorn UniversityBangkokThailand
  2. 2.Cell-Based Drug and Health Product Development Research UnitChulalongkorn UniversityBangkokThailand
  3. 3.Department of Pharmacology and Physiology, Faculty of Pharmaceutical SciencesChulalongkorn UniversityBangkokThailand
  4. 4.Department of Pharmacognosy and Pharmaceutical Botany, Faculty of Pharmaceutical SciencesChulalongkorn UniversityBangkokThailand

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