Neutral lipid isolated from endosperm of Job's tears inhibits the growth of pancreatic cancer cells via apoptosis, G2/M arrest, and regulation of gene expression

Ying Bao, Yaozong Yuan, Lu Xia, Hua Jiang, Weirong Wu, Xuejun Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The neutral lipid isolated from the endosperm of Job's tears (NLEJ) has been known to possess an anticancer activity with relatively low toxicity. The present study was designed to examine its antiproliferative effects in the PaTu-8988 and SW1990 human pancreatic cancer cells and to investigate its potential mechanism(s). Methods: Pancreatic cancer cells were treated with NLEJ to evaluate cell viability, cell cycle progression, nuclear morphology, DNA fragmentation and annexin V binding analysis. Regulation of gene expression was determined by using cDNA microarrays and western immunoblotting. Results: The NLEJ induced a dose- and time-dependent inhibition of proliferation in both PaTu-8988 and SW1990 cell lines. Further studies were carried out with only the PaTu-8988 cells. Flow cytometry analysis showed that NLEJ blocked cell cycle progression at the G2/M phase. There was also an increase in annexin V binding and DNA fragmentation, indicative of apoptosis. The cDNA microarray analysis with cell cycle- and apoptosis-targeted arrays showed that the expression signals of 24 genes were found to be significantly altered at 24 h of NLEJ treatment. These genes are involved in cell cycle control (e.g. p21, p27, CDK2, and cyclins), apoptosis regulation (e.g. bcl-2 and box), and signal transduction (e.g. ATM, RAD50, and p53). Some of these results were confirmed by western blot analysis. Conclusions: These data show that NLEJ inhibits pancreatic cancer cell growth through induction of apoptosis and cell cycle arrest as well as regulation of gene expression in vitro. Therefore, NLEJ might be a chemotherapeutic agent against pancreatic cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1046-1053
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology (Australia)
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2005


  • Apoptosis
  • Cell cycle
  • Jobs's tears
  • Microarray
  • Pancreatic cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology

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