Peer Review #3 of "Punicalagin, a pomegranate compound, induces apoptosis and autophagy in acute leukemia (v0.2)"
Background. Punicalagin is the major phenolic compound found in pomegranate peels. It has several reported medical benefits, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer properties. The present study investigated the anti-leukemic effects and the molecular mechanism of punicalagin on NB4 and MOLT-4 leukemic cell lines.Methods. Leukemic cells were treated with punicalagin and cell viability was determined using MTS assay. Apoptosis and autophagy were analyzed by flow cytometry using
... nnexin V-FITC/PI and anti-LC3/FITC antibodies staining, respectively. Apoptotic and autophagic mRNA expression were determined using reverse transcription-quantitative PCR. STITCH bioinformatics tools were used to predict the interaction between punicalagin and its proposed target proteins.Results. Results indicated that punicalagin decreased NB4 and MOLT-4 cell viability in a dose-dependent manner. Punicalagin, in combination with daunorubicin, exhibited synergistic cytotoxic effects. Punicalagin induced apoptosis through the upregulation of caspase-3/-8/-9, Bax and the downregulation of Bcl-2 expression. Punicalagin also promoted autophagy via the downregulation of mTOR and the upregulation of ULK1 expression. Cyclooxygenase-2 and toll-like receptor 4 were found to be involved in punicalagin-induced cell death in punicalagin-targeted protein interactions.Conclusions. These results suggest that punicalagin exerts cytotoxic activities by suppressing proliferation and promoting apoptosis and autophagy by activating the caspase cascade, altering Bax and Bcl-2, and regulating autophagy via mTOR/ULK1 signaling .