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Cell Biol Int. 2007 Oct;31(10):1265-73. Epub 2007 May 21.

Anti-proliferation and apoptosis induced by a novel intestinal metabolite of ginseng saponin in human hepatocellular carcinoma cells.

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The Key Laboratory of Ministry of Education for Cell Biology and Tumor Cell Engineering, School of Life Sciences, Xiamen University, Xiamen 361005, PR China.


20-O-(beta-D-glucopyranosyl)-20(S)-protopanaxadiol (IH-901), a novel intestinal bacterial metabolite of ginseng protopanaxadiol saponins, is reported to induce apoptosis in a variety of cancer cells. We purified the compound and measured its in vitro anti-tumor activity. IH-901 inhibited cell growth of human hepatocellular carcinoma SMMC7721 cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner. We also found that IH-901 induced apoptotic cell death concurrent with cell cycle arrest in G0-G1 phase in SMMC7721 cells. At the molecular level, we show that IH-901 upregulates cytochrome c, p53, and Bax expression, and downregulates pro-caspase-3 and pro-caspase-9 expressions in a dose-dependent manner, while the levels of Bcl-2 and Bcl-X(L) were unchanged in IH-901-treated SMMC7721 cells. These results provide significant insight into the anticarcinogenic action of IH-901.

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