Non-thermal plasma with metformin synergistically induces cell death via upregulating AMPK to suppress energy metabolism

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

View graph of relations


  • Shujun Cui
  • Guodong Chen
  • K. N. Yu
  • Cheng Cheng
  • Wei Han


Original languageEnglish
Article number385203
Journal / PublicationJournal Physics D: Applied Physics
Issue number38
Online published1 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sep 2020


Non-thermal plasma (NTP) has a selective killing effect on a variety of cancer cells in vivo and in vitro, and is considered a potential tumor therapy. In this study, we found that metformin, which has shown promising antitumor effects in previous studies, with NTP synergistically increased cell death including apoptosis in colon cancer cell lines via reducing mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation and intracellular adenosine triphosphate exhausting cellular energy, mediated through activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). Reactive oxygen species was revealed to modulate the activation of AMPK after NTP exposure. Considering the safety and wide clinical use of metformin, the combination of metformin and NTP showed great potential in cancer therapy.

Research Area(s)

  • non-thermal plasma, metformin, AMP-activated protein kinase, energy metabolism, ACTIVATED PROTEIN-KINASE, CANCER PREVENTION, COMPLEX 1, APOPTOSIS, ROS, INDUCTION

Citation Format(s)