An integrated approach to elucidate signaling pathways of dioscin-induced apoptosis, energy metabolism and differentiation in acute myeloid leukemia

  • She-Hung Chan
  • Pi-Hui Liang
  • Jih-Hwa Guh
Original Article


Although the therapeutics have improved the rates of remission and cure of acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) in recent decades, there is still an unmet medical need for AML therapies because disease relapses are a major obstacle in patients who become refractory to salvage therapy. The development of therapeutic agents promoting both cytotoxicity and cell differentiation may provide opportunities to improve the clinical outcome. Dioscin-induced apoptosis in leukemic cells was identified through death receptor-mediated extrinsic apoptosis pathway. The formation of Bak and tBid, and loss of mitochondrial membrane potential were induced by dioscin suggesting the activation of intrinsic apoptotsis pathway. A functional analysis of transcription factors using transcription factor-DNA interaction array and IPA analysis demonstrated that dioscin induced a profound increase of protein expression of CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein α (C/EBPα), a critical factor for myeloid differentiation. Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis assay confirmed the increase of C/EBPα expression. Dioscin-induced differentiation was substantiated by an increase of CD11b protein expression and the induction of differentiation toward myelomonocytic/granulocytic lineages using hematoxylin and eosin staining. Moreover, both glycolysis and gluconeogenesis pathways after two-dimensional gel electrophoresis assay and IPA network enrichment analysis were proposed to dioscin action. In conclusion, the data suggest that dioscin exerts its antileukemic effect through the upregulation of both death ligands and death receptors and a crosstalk activation of mitochondrial apoptosis pathway with the collaboration of tBid and Bak formation. In addition, proteomics approach reveals an altered metabolic signature of dioscin-treated cells and the induction of differentiation of promyelocytes to granulocytes and monocytes in which the C/EBPα plays a key role.


Dioscin Leukemia Death receptor signaling pathway C/EBPα Differentiation Ingenuity pathway analysis 



This work was supported by the grant from the Ministry of Sciences and Technology in Taiwan (MOST 103-2320-B-002-009-MY3 and MOST 106-2320-B-126-001-MY2).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cosmetic ScienceProvidence UniversityTaichungTaiwan
  2. 2.School of PharmacyNational Taiwan UniversityTaipeiTaiwan

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