Rhopalurus junceus scorpion venom induces apoptosis in the triple negative human breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231

Abr 2017

Alexis Diaz Garcia


Jenny Laura Ruiz-Fuentes

Pedro Kourí Tropical Medicine Institute

Hermis Rodríguez Sánchez

Pedro Kourí Tropical Medicine Institute

José A Fraga Castro


Rhopalurus junceus scorpion venom has demonstrated high cytotoxic activity in epithelial cancer cells. In the present study, the effect of scorpion venom on cell viability and apoptosis was evaluated in the MDA-MB-231 human breast carcinoma cell line. Cell viability was analyzed using MTT assay. The cell death event was examined trough end-point RT-PCR to identify the expression of apoptosis-related genes, fluorescent microscopy and mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm) alteration. The results demonstrated that scorpion venom induced apoptosis in MDA-MB-231 cells in a time-dependent manner. Besides, scorpion venom treatment also resulted in p53, bax, noxa, puma, caspase 3 and p21 over-expression, while the expression of bcl-2 and bcl-xl was down-regulated. Apoptosis was associated with depolarization of ΔΨm. The overall effect indicates that the selective cytotoxic effect of the scorpion venom is associated with its apoptosis-inducing effect through the mitochondrial pathway. Therefore, R. junceus scorpion venom may be an interesting natural extract for further investigation in breast cancer treatment strategies.