Y Dong, MM Yang, CY Kwan.
Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.
Coriolus versicolor polysaccharide peptide (CVP) and the bis-benzylisoquinoline alkaloids, tetrandrine (TET) and berbamine (BER), the active ingredients isolated from Chinese medicinal herbs known to possess antitumor activities, concentration-dependently inhibited the proliferation of human leukemic HL-60 cells. CVP did not affect the growth of normal human peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL), whereas TET elicited concentration-dependent cytotoxic effects. Morphological observation and DNA analysis revealed that CVP elicited no effect on the morphological features of HL-60 cells and did not cause DNA fragmentation, but TET and BER caused cell shrinkage with the formation of apoptotic bodies, and showed clear evidence of DNA fragmentation. These findings indicate that TET and BER, but not CVP, inhibited the proliferation of HL-60 cells via induction of apoptosis.