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J Gastroenterol. 2001 Feb;36(2):79-90.

Growth inhibition and apoptosis of gastric cancer cell lines by Anemarrhena asphodeloides Bunge.

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Second Department of Internal Medicine, Yamagata University School of Medicine, Japan.


In this study, we aimed to determine the growth inhibition and the induction of apoptotic cell death brought about by the herb Anemarrhena asphodeloides Bunge in gastric cancer cell lines, and to clarify the mechanism of this apoptosis. Water-soluble ingredients of A. asphodeloides, and the gastric cancer cell lines, MKN45 and KATO-III, were used in vitro. Growth inhibition, induction of cell death, morphological features, the presence of DNA ladders, increases in caspase-3-like activity, the effects of a caspase-3 inhibitor on apoptotic cell death, and the release of cytochrome c by A. asphodeloides were analyzed. A. asphodeloides inhibited the growth and decreased the viability of the gastric cancer cell lines. The viability of normal skin fibroblasts in the presence of low concentrations of A. asphodeloides was higher than that of gastric cancer cells. Apoptotic bodies and DNA ladders were observed to be induced in MKN45 and KATO-III by A. asphodeloides. The caspase 3 inhibitor, Ac-DEVD-CHO, inhibited the apoptotic cell death of gastric cancer cells induced by A. asphodeloides. The caspase 3-like activity in MKN45 and KATO-III cells increased after the addition of A. asphodeloides. Cytochrome c was released from mitochondria into the cytosol 8 h after the addition of A. asphodeloides, and reached a peak at 16 h. The peak of cytochrome c release was earlier than that of caspase 3-like activity. We concluded that A. asphodeloides inhibited the growth of the gastric cancer cell lines MKN45 and KATO-III and induced apoptosis. The apoptosis of MKN45 and KATO-III cells induced by A. asphodeloides was associated with the release of cytochrome c from the mitochondria, followed by an increase in caspase 3-like activity.

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