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Phytomedicine. 2007 May;14(5):353-9. Epub 2006 Nov 13.

Inhibition of the growth of human gastric carcinoma in vivo and in vitro by swainsonine.

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Institute of Materia Medica, The Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an, 710032 Shaanxi, China.


In Europe, swainsonine has been studied widely for prevention of metastasis and cancer therapy. In order to investigate the effects and mechanisms of swainsonine on the human gastric carcinoma SGC-7901 cell, we carried out in vivo and in vitro experiments. After treatment with swainsonine, an effective dose and IC50 value of swainsonine for SGC-7901 cells were examined by MTT assay. Cell-cycle distribution and apoptotic rates were analyzed using FCM, and [Ca2+]i was measured using LSCM. The expression of p53, c-myc and Bcl-2 were determined using an immunocytochemical method. Simultaneously, 50 mice were divided randomly into five groups. Three groups were administrated swainsonine at dose of 3, 6 and 12 mg/kg body wt., two control groups were administrated N.S. 20 ml/kg body wt. and 5-Fu 20 mg/kg body wt., respectively, by intraperitoneal injection. The inhibition rate was calculated and pathological sections were observed. The growth of SGC-7901 cell is inhibited by swainsonine in vitro, with an IC50 value at 24 h of 0.84 microg/ml, and complete inhibition concentration is 6.2 microg/ml. After treatment with swainsonine at the concentrations of 0.5, 1.5 and 4.5 microg/ml for 24 h, the expression of apoptosis inhibiting gene p53 and bcl-2 decreases, and the apoptotic trigger gene c-myc increases markedly (p<0.05), as well as [Ca2+]i overloading, SGC-7901 cell is induced to apoptosis in the end. It is also found that the percentages of S phase are 38.8%, 39.7% and 29.6%, respectively (20.0% in control group and 23.2% in 5-Fu group). The rates of inhibition were 13.2%, 28.9%, 27.3%, respectively, when the nude mice were administered swainsonine (p<0.05 or 0.01). The structure of the tumor showed hemorrhage, necrosis and inflammatory cell infiltration. We therefore conclude that swainsonine could inhibit cell proliferation in vitro and the growth of human gastric carcinoma in vivo. The mechanisms of swainsonine-induced apoptosis may relate to [Ca2+]i overloading and the expression of apoptosis-related genes.

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