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Life Sci. 2006 Apr 25;78(22):2550-7. Epub 2005 Dec 6.

Ellipticine induces apoptosis through p53-dependent pathway in human hepatocellular carcinoma HepG2 cells.

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Graduate Institute of Natural Products, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.


Ellipticine (5,11-dimethyl-6H-pyrido[4,3-b]carbazole), one of the simplest naturally occurring alkaloids, was isolated from the leaves of the evergreen tree Ochrosia elliptica Labill (Apocynaceae). Here, we reported that ellipticine inhibited the cell growth of human hepatocellular carcinoma cell line HepG2 and provided molecular understanding of this effect. The XTT assay results showed that ellipticine decreased the cell viability of HepG2 cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner, and the IC50 value was 4.1 microM. Furthermore, apoptosis induction by ellipticine in HepG2 cells was verified by the appearance of DNA fragmentation and annexin V-FITC/propidium iodide (PI) staining assay. Ellipticine treatment was found to result in the upregulation of p53, Fas/APO-1 receptor and Fas ligand. Besides, ellipticine also initiated mitochondrial apoptotic pathway through regulation of Bcl-2 family proteins expression, alteration of mitochondrial membrane potential (DeltaPsim), and activation of caspase-9 and caspase-3. Taken together, ellipticine decreased the cell growth and induced apoptosis in HepG2 cell.

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