Curcumin micelles suppress gastric tumor cell growth by upregulating ROS generation, disrupting redox equilibrium and affecting mitochondrial bioenergetics†
Gastric cancer is the fourth most common cancer and the second most frequent cause of cancer death worldwide. Chemotherapy is an important treatment. However, traditional chemotherapy drugs have low bioavailability and targeting ability. Therefore, we developed curcumin-encapsulated micelles for the treatment of gastric cancer and investigated their antitumor efficacy and active mechanism. Gastric cancer cells were treated with different concentrations of curcumin micelles. MTS cell proliferation assays, flow cytometry (FCM), real time cellular analysis (RTCA) and nude mice xenografts were used to evaluate the effects of curcumin micelles on gastric cancer cell growth in vitro and in vivo. Western blotting was performed to analyze the protein levels of the indicated molecules. A Seahorse bioenergetics analyzer was used to investigate alterations in oxygen consumption and the aerobic glycolysis rate. Curcumin micelles significantly inhibited proliferation and colony formation and induced apoptosis in gastric tumor cells compared to the control groups. We further investigated the mechanism of curcumin micelles on gastric tumor cells and demonstrated that curcumin micelles acted on mitochondrial proteins, causing changes in mitochondrial function and affecting mitochondrial bioenergetics. Furthermore, curcumin micelles decreased mitochondrial membrane potential, increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and disrupted redox equilibrium. The nude mouse model verified that curcumin micelle treatment significantly attenuated tumor growth in vivo. Curcumin micelles suppress gastric tumor cell growth in vitro and in vivo. The mechanism may be related to increasing ROS generation, disrupting redox equilibrium and affecting mitochondrial bioenergetics.