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World J Gastroenterol. 2005 Jan 14;11(2):204-7.

Specific COX-2 inhibitor NS398 induces apoptosis in human liver cancer cell line HepG2 through BCL-2.

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Department of Hepatobiliary Pancreatic Surgery, The First Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University, College of Medicine, Hangzhou 310003, Zhejiang Province, China.



To evaluate the effects of NS-398, a cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitor, on the proliferation and apoptosis of HepG2 cells.


The effects of NS-398 on the proliferation of HepG2 cells were evaluated by MTT. DNA fragmentation gel analysis was used to analyze the apoptotic cells. DNA ploidy and apoptotic cell percentage were calculated by flow cytometry. The expression of COX-2 and Bcl-2 mRNA was identified by competitive RT-PCR. Furthermore, expression level of Bcl-2 was detected using Western blot in HepG2 after treated with NS-398.


NS-398 inhibited cell proliferation and induced apoptosis of HepG2 cells in a concentration-dependent manner. DNA ploidy analysis showed that S phase cells were significantly decreased with increase of NS-398 concentration. The quiescent G0/G1 phase was accumulated with decrease of Bcl-2 mRNA. Whereas NS-398 had no effect on the expression of COX-2 mRNA, and no correlations were found between COX-2 mRNA and HepG2 cell proliferation and apoptosis induced by NS-398 (r = 0.056 and r = 0.119, respectively). Bcl-2 protein level was inhibited after treated with NS-398.


NS-398 significantly inhibits the proliferation and induces apoptosis of HepG2 cells. Mechanisms involved may be accumulation of quiescent G0/G1 phase and decrease of Bcl-2 expression.

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