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J Hepatol. 2002 Feb;36(2):233-40.

The histone-deacetylase inhibitor Trichostatin A blocks proliferation and triggers apoptotic programs in hepatoma cells.

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Department of Medicine I, University of Erlangen-Nuernberg, Krankenhausstrasse 12, 91054 Erlangen, Germany.



Effective treatment for hepatocellular carcinoma is urgently needed. The histone-deacetylase inhibitor Trichostatin A (TSA) was shown to induce apoptosis in non-hepatic cells at submicromolar concentrations. However, the effect of TSA on hepatoma cells is unknown.


The hepatoma cells HepG2, MH1C1, Hepa1-6 and Hep1B as well as human fibroblasts (control cells) were exposed to TSA (10(-6) to 10(-9)M). Cell proliferation was assessed by measuring DNA-synthesis and cell numbers. Apoptosis was quantified by flow cytometry and by the TdT-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling method. Expression patterns of cell cycle- and/or apoptosis-associated p27, p21(cip/waf), bax, bcl-2, cyclin A and (pro)-caspase 3 were studied using quantitative Western blotting. Activation of caspase 3 was analyzed via a colorimetric assay.


10(-6)M TSA inhibited DNA-synthesis by 46% (HepG2) to 64% (MH1C1) after 24h, inducing a G(2)/M-phase arrest and apoptosis. TSA increased activation of caspase 3 and expression of cyclin A, p2l(cip/waf), bax and (pro)-caspase 3, while bcl-2 was downregulated. Human fibroblasts remained unaffected.


TSA inhibits hepatoma cell growth in vitro, which are otherwise particularly resistant to chemotherapy. Its anti-proliferative activity is paralleled by a comparable rate of apoptosis. TSA may be a promising agent for treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma in vivo.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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