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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2009 Apr 17;381(4):700-5. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2009.02.124. Epub 2009 Feb 28.

Asparanin A induces G(2)/M cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in human hepatocellular carcinoma HepG2 cells.

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Department of Physiology, China Pharmaceutical University, Nanjing, People's Republic of China.


We recently established that asparanin A, a steroidal saponin extracted from Asparagus officinalis L., is an active cytotoxic component. The molecular mechanisms by which asparanin A exerts its cytotoxic activity are currently unknown. In this study, we show that asparanin A induces G(2)/M phase arrest and apoptosis in human hepatocellular carcinoma HepG2 cells. Following treatment of HepG2 cells with asparanin A, cell cycle-related proteins such as cyclin A, Cdk1 and Cdk4 were down-regulated, while p21(WAF1/Cip1) and p-Cdk1 (Thr14/Tyr15) were up-regulated. Additionally, we observed poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) cleavage and activation of caspase-3, caspase-8 and caspase-9. The expression ratio of Bax/Bcl-2 was increased in the treated cells, where Bax was also up-regulated. We also found that the expression of p53, a modulator of p21(WAF1/Cip1) and Bax, was not affected in asparanin A-treated cells. Collectively, our findings demonstrate that asparanin A induces cell cycle arrest and triggers apoptosis via a p53-independent manner in HepG2 cells. These data indicate that asparanin A shows promise as a preventive and/or therapeutic agent against human hepatoma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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