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Biotechnol Appl Biochem. 2007 Jul;47(Pt 3):159-67.

Alteration of mitochondrial membrane potential by Spirulina platensis C-phycocyanin induces apoptosis in the doxorubicinresistant human hepatocellular-carcinoma cell line HepG2.

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Department of Animal Sciences, School of Life Sciences, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, India.


C-PC (C-phycocyanin) is a water-soluble biliprotein from the filamentous cyanobacterium Spirulina platensis with potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticancerous properties. In the present study, the effect of C-PC was tested on the proliferation of doxorubicin-sensitive (S-HepG2) and -resistant (R-HepG2) HCC (hepatocellular carcinoma) cell lines. These studies indicate a 50% decrease in the proliferation of S- and R-HepG2 cells treated with 40 and 50 microM C-PC for 24 h respectively. C-PC also enhanced the sensitivity of R-HepG2 cells to doxorubicin. R-HepG2 cells treated with C-PC showed typical apoptotic features such as membrane blebbing and DNA fragmentation. Flow-cytometric analysis of R-HepG2 cells treated with 10, 25 and 50 microM C-PC for 24 h showed 18.8, 39.72 and 65.64% cells in sub-G(0)/G(1)-phase respectively. Cytochrome c release, decrease in membrane potential, caspase 3 activation and PARP [poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase] cleavage were observed in C-PC-treated R-HepG2 cells. These studies also showed down-regulation of the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2 and up-regulation of the pro-apoptotic Bax (Bcl2-associated X-protein) protein in the R-HepG2 cells treated with C-PC. The present study thus demonstrates that C-PC induces apoptosis in R-HepG2 cells and its potential as an anti-HCC agent.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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