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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2001 Jul 13;285(2):183-7.

Involvement of p-15(INK4b) and p-16(INK4a) gene expression in saikosaponin a and TPA-induced growth inhibition of HepG2 cells.

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Department of Medical Technology, Tzu Chi University, No. 701, Chung Yang Rd., Sec. 3, Hualien, Taiwan 970.


Saikosaponin a, a purified ingredient of Chinese herb with known antitumor activity, can inhibit cell growth and DNA synthesis of hepatoma cell line HepG2. Both mRNA and protein of the CDK inhibitor p-16(INK4a) and p-15(INK4b) in HepG2 were greatly induced by saikosaponin a while that of p-21(CIP), p-27(KIP) and other cell cycle related genes were not. In addition, reduced phosphorylation of RB protein is observed in saikosaponin a-treated HepG2. Staurosporin, one of the PKC inhibitors, significantly prevented the saikosaponin a induced growth inhibition suggesting PKC pathway be involved. On the other hand, the phorbol ester tumor promoter TPA (12-O-Tetredecanolyphorbol 13-acetate) also inhibited HepG2 growth and specifically induced p-16(INK4a) and p-15(INK4b) mRNA expression. The results suggest that both saikosaponin a and TPA-induced HepG2 growth inhibition are associated with p-15(INK4a) and p-16(INK4b) gene expression and might be mediated by PKC signaling pathway.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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