Anti-tumor effects of crocin have been investigated in different tumors; however, its precise molecular mechanism is not exactly elucidated.
In the present investigation, we have studied pro-apoptotic and anti-proliferative properties of crocin and cisplatin combination on cervical cancer cells.
Cell viability and apoptosis assays were monitored by MTT, Hoechst 33258 staining methods, respectively. The expression levels of apoptotic related genes, including Bax, Bcl-2, p53 mRNA, and miR-365 were analyzed by quantitative reverse transcription- polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). Using Western blot, we have also assessed the protein expression of the above apoptotic genes.
The results of this study demonstrated that the combination treatment of cells with crocin and cisplatin significantly reduced the proliferation of cancer cells and induced apoptosis. Furthermore, the Bax/Bcl-2 ratio and the mRNA level of p53 markedly increased in treated cells, whereas it decreased miR-365 expression, an upstream regulator of Bcl2 and Bax.
Accordingly, crocin could be a potential candidate for more evaluations such as in vivo studies, since it shows a proper in vitro anticancer effect. It is also suggested that a combination of crocin and cisplatin could be applied as an effective and promising chemotherapy strategy.