Emodin-induced apoptosis through p53-dependent pathway in human hepatoma cells

Den-En Shieh, Yuan-Ying Chen, Ming-Hong Yen, Lien-Chai Chiang, Chun-Ching Lin
Life Sciences 2004 March 19, 74 (18): 2279-90
Most of the commonly used cytotoxic anticancer drugs have been shown to induce apoptosis in susceptible cells. However, the signaling pathway of their apoptotic effects remains undefined. In this study, the cytotoxic effect of emodin on various human hepatoma cell lines was investigated. Results demonstrated that emodin exhibited strongly suppressing effect on HepG2/C3A, PLC/PRF/5, and SK-HEP-1 cells, with the IC(50) value of 42.5, 46.6, and 53.1 microM, respectively. Furthermore, emodin induced apoptosis in HepG2/C3A cells was clearly verified by the appearance of DNA fragmentation and sub-G(1) accumulation. Besides, HepG2/C3A cells were found to be arrested in G(2)/M phase after the cells were treated with 60 microM emodin for 48 h. Moreover, significant increase in the levels of apoptosis-related signals such as p53 (419.3 pg/ml), p21 (437.4 units/ml), Fas (6.6 units/ml), and caspase-3 (35.4 pmol/min) were observed in emodin treated HepG2/C3A cells. Taken together, emodin displays effective inhibitory effects on the growth of various human hepatoma cell lines and stimulates the expression of p53 and p21 that resulted in the cell cycle arrest of HepG2/C3A cells at G(2)/M phase. Results also suggest that emodin-induced apoptosis in HepG2/C3A cells were mediated through the activation of p53, p21, Fas/APO-1, and caspase-3. It implies that emodin could be a useful chemotherapeutical agent for treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).


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