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World J Gastroenterol. 2010 Jul 21;16(27):3377-84.

Galangin induces apoptosis of hepatocellular carcinoma cells via the mitochondrial pathway.

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  • 1Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Guangdong Medical College, Zhanjiang 524023, Guangdong Province, China.



To investigate the mechanism by which galangin, a polyphenolic compound derived from medicinal herbs, induces apoptosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells.


The 3-(4,5-dimethyl-thiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl-tetrazolium bromide assay was used to measure cell viability. Apoptosis was evaluated by in situ uptake of propidium iodide and Hoechst 33258 and was then detected by fluorescence microscopy. Protein expressions were detected by Western blotting. To confirm the apoptotic pathway mediated by galangin, cells were transfected by bcl-2 gene to overexpress Bcl-2 or siRNA to down-regulate Bcl-2 expression.


Galangin (46.25-370.0 micromol/L) exerted an anti-proliferative effect, induced apoptosis, and decreased mitochondrial membrane potential in a dose and time-dependent manner. Treatment with galangin induced apoptosis by translocating the pro-apoptotic protein Bax to the mitochondria, which released apoptosis-inducing factor and cytochrome c into the cytosol. Overexpression of Bcl-2 attenuated galangin-induced HepG2 cell apoptosis, while decreasing Bcl-2 expression enhanced galangin-induced cell apoptosis.


Our data suggests that galangin mediates apoptosis through a mitochondrial pathway, and may be a potential chemotherapeutic drug for the treatment of HCC.

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