Aloe-emodin triggers ROS and Ca 2+ production and decreases the levels of mitochondrial membrane potential of human brain capillary endothelial cells

Ivanka Dimova, Svetla Danova, Ekaterina Nikolova, Miglena Koprinarova



The aim of this work was to investigate the mechanisms of cytotoxicity of phyto-hydroxyanthraquinone aloe-emodin (AE) on human brain microvascular endothelial cell line hCMEC/D3 and to assess the cellular response in the early stage of treatment in order to extend the knowledge of AE’s anti-angiogenic properties. The immortalized human brain capillary endothelial cells hCMEC/D3 were treated with a series of AE concentrations (5 - 200 μM) for a period of 24 hours. The cell viability was determined by MTS assay. The cellular adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels were evaluated by CellTiter-Glo® luminescent assay. The intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) were determined by 2’,7’-dichlorofluorescein (CM- H2DCFDA) fluorescence assay. The mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) was assessed using tetramethylrhodamine methyl ester (TMRM) staining, while Fluo-4 was used to measure 2 the intracellular free Ca 2+ concentrations inside living cells analysed by High Content Analysis using the Arrayscan VTI 740. Twenty-four- hour treatment of hCMEC/D3 cells with AE, in concentrations between 50 and 200 µM, decreased the cell viability as well as the intracellular ATP levels in a dose- dependent manner. Increased ROS production and disruption of the mitochondrial membrane potential have also been detected. Notably, AE at a concentration greater than 5 µM dramatically increased intracellular calcium levels. Our results collectively indicate that AE inhibits proliferation of human brain microvascular cells via a mechanism involving ROS generation, disruption of Ca 2+ homeostasis and mitochondrial damage.


aloe-emodin, human brain capillary endothelial cells, reactive oxygen species, mitochondria, intracellular Ca 2+

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