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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 857257, 10 pages
Research Article

Induction of Apoptosis and Cell Cycle Blockade by Helichrysetin in A549 Human Lung Adenocarcinoma Cells

Institute of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Received 21 November 2012; Accepted 17 January 2013

Academic Editor: Alfredo Vannacci

Copyright © 2013 Yen Fong Ho 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.


Researchers are looking into the potential development of natural compounds for anticancer therapy. Previous studies have postulated the cytotoxic effect of helichrysetin towards different cancer cell lines. In this study, we investigated the cytotoxic effect of helichrysetin, a naturally occurring chalcone on four selected cancer cell lines, A549, MCF-7, Ca Ski, and HT-29, and further elucidated its biochemical and molecular mechanisms in human lung adenocarcinoma, A549. Helichrysetin showed the highest cytotoxic activity against Ca Ski followed by A549. Changes in the nuclear morphology of A549 cells such as chromatin condensation and nuclear fragmentation were observed in cells treated with helichrysetin. Further evidence of apoptosis includes the externalization of phosphatidylserine and the collapse of mitochondrial membrane potential which are both early signs of apoptosis. These signs of apoptosis are related to cell cycle blockade at the S checkpoint which suggests that the alteration of the cell cycle contributes to the induction of apoptosis in A549. These results suggest that helichrysetin has great potentials for development as an anticancer agent.