Capsaicin potentiates 1,25-dihydoxyvitamin D3- and all-trans retinoic acid-induced differentiation of human promyelocytic leukemia HL-60 cells

So N. Kang, Su W. Chung, Tae S. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Human promyelocytic leukemia HL-60 cells are differentiated into monocytic or granulocytic lineage when treated with 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 [1,25-(OH)2D3] or all-trans retinoic acid, respectively. In this study, the effect of capsaicin, an active component of the red pepper of the genus Capsocum, on cell differentiation was investigated in a HL-60 cell culture system. Treatment of HL-60 cells with 5-30 μg/ml capsaicin for 72 h inhibited cell proliferation and induced a small increase in cell differentiation. Interestingly, synergistic induction of HL-60 cell differentiation was observed when capsaicin was combined with either 5 nM 1,25-(OH)2D3 or 50 nM all-trans retinoic acid. Flow cytometric analysis indicated that combinations of 1,25-(OH)2D3 and capsaicin stimulated differentiation predominantly to monocytes whereas combinations of all-trans retinoic acid and capsaicin stimulated differentiation predominantly to granulocytes. Capsaicin enhanced protein kinase C activity in 1,25-(OH)2D3- and all-trans retinoic acid-treated HL-60 cells. In addition, inhibitors for protein kinase C [bisindolylmaleimide (GF-109203X), chelerythrine, 1-(5-isoquinolinesulfonyl)-2-methylpiperazine dihydrochloride (H-7)] and an inhibitor for extracellular signal-regulated kinase [2-(2′-amino-3′-methoxyphenyl)-oxanaphthalen-4-one (PD-098059)] significantly inhibited HL-60 cell differentiation induced by capsaicin in combination with either 1,25-(OH)2D3 or all-trans retinoic acid. These results indicate that capsaicin potentiates 1,25-(OH)2D3- or all-trans retinoic acid-induced HL-60 cell differentiation and that both protein kinase C and extracellular signal-regulated kinase are involved in the cell differentiation synergistically enhanced by capsaicin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-90
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2001 May 25
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Drs. J.W. Lee, H.J. Han and J.H. Chung (all in Chonnam National University) for providing valuable reagents. We also thank Drs. I.S. Lee and S.H. Choi (Chonnam National University) for their careful review of this manuscript. This work was supported by grants from the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation (HRC 1998G0021) and in part from the GenoCheck (Ansan, Republic of Korea).


  • Capsaicin
  • Cell differentiation
  • HL-60 cell
  • Protein kinase C

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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