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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 630415, 13 pages
Research Article

Subamolide B Isolated from Medicinal Plant Cinnamomum subavenium Induces Cytotoxicity in Human Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma Cells through Mitochondrial and CHOP-Dependent Cell Death Pathways

1Institute of Biomedical Sciences, National Chung Hsing University, 250 Kuo-Kuang Road, Taichung 40227, Taiwan
2Department of Fragrance and Cosmetic Science, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung 80708, Taiwan
3Department of Dermatology, Taichung Veterans General Hospital, Taichung 40705, Taiwan
4Department of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University School of Medicine, Taipei 11221, Taiwan
5Department of Biological Science and Technology, China Medical University, Taichung 40402, Taiwan
6Department of Medical Laboratory Science and Biotechnology, Central Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taichung 40601, Taiwan
7School of Medical and Health Sciences, Fooyin University, Kaohsiung 83102, Taiwan
8Agricultural Biotechnology Center, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung 40227, Taiwan
9Graduate Institute of Basic Medical Science, China Medical University, Taichung 40402, Taiwan

Received 9 November 2012; Accepted 5 February 2013

Academic Editor: Shu-Ming Wang

Copyright © 2013 Shu-Yi Yang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Subamolide B is a butanolide isolated from Cinnamomum subavenium, a medicinal plant traditionally used to treat various ailments including carcinomatous swelling. We herein reported for the first time that subamolide B potently induced cytotoxicity against diverse human skin cancer cell lines while sparing nonmalignant cells. Mechanistic studies on human cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) cell line SCC12 highlighted the involvement of apoptosis in subamolide B-induced cytotoxicity, as evidenced by the activation of caspases-8, -9, -4, and -3, the increase in annexin V-positive population, and the partial restoration of cell viability by cotreatment with the pan-caspase inhibitor z-VAD-fmk. Additionally, subamolide B evoked cell death pathways mediated by FasL/Fas, mitochondria, and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, as supported by subamolide B-induced FasL upregulation, BCL-2 suppression/cytosolic release of cytochrome c, and UPR activation/CHOP upregulation, respectively. Noteworthy, ectopic expression of c- or dominant-negative mutant of FADD failed to impair subamolide B-induced cytotoxicity, whereas BCL-2 overexpression or CHOP depletion greatly rescued subamolide B-stimulated cells. Collectively, these results underscored the central role of mitochondrial and CHOP-mediated cell death pathways in subamolide B-induced cytotoxicity. Our findings further implicate the potential of subamolide B for cutaneous SCC therapy or as a lead compound for developing novel chemotherapeutic agents.