Toxicology Reports, vol.8, pp.162-170, 2021 (ESCI)
© 2020Glioblastoma, as an invasive tumor, is one of the most common primary malignant brain tumors. Despite maximum aggressive treatment, patients with glioblastoma have a dismal prognosis. Thymoquinone (TQ) has been found to show anti-cancer effects on different types of cancer. There are a few in vitro studies on the effect of TQ on glial tumors. However, the molecular mechanism of TQ's anti-cancer effect has not been fully elucidated. In the present study, we aimed to investigate the genotoxic, apoptotic, and cytotoxic effects of TQ on C6 rat glioma cells. C6 glioma cells were analyzed after 24 h of exposure to different concentrations of TQ by the ATP cell viability assay for cytotoxicity, comet assay for genotoxicity, 2′,7′dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate (H2DCF-DA) for intracellular reactive oxygen species (iROS) generation, 3.3′dihexyloxacarbocyanine iodide (DiOC6(3)) for mitochondrial membrane potential, GSH/GSSG-Glo Assay for glutathione level and Fura-2AM for intracellular calcium levels. Apoptosis induction was studied by acridine orange/ethidium bromide double staining, flow cytometry, and western blotting analyses. Caspase-3, Caspase-9, Bax, Bcl-2, and pSTAT3 protein levels were determined by the western blotting method. Cytotoxicity was enhanced by TQ in C6 glioma cells in a concentration-dependent manner. TQ also induced DNA damage, apoptosis, and increased iROS. Also, MMP and GSH levels were decreased by TQ. It inhibited pSTAT3, resulting in apoptosis induction through the regulation of anti-apoptotic and pro-apoptotic proteins. Our results suggest that TQ would be an effective treatment in glioma. Further studies should support these findings.