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Int J Oncol. 2012 Apr;40(4):1153-61. doi: 10.3892/ijo.2011.1277. Epub 2011 Nov 30.

Magnolol, a natural compound, induces apoptosis of SGC-7901 human gastric adenocarcinoma cells via the mitochondrial and PI3K/Akt signaling pathways.

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Central Research Laboratory, Jilin University Bethune Second Hospital, Changchun 130041, PR China.


Gastric cancer is the fourth most commonly diagnosed cancer with the second highest mortality rate worldwide. Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are generally used for the treatment of stomach cancer but only limited clinical response is shown by these therapies and still no effectual therapy for advanced gastric adenocarcinoma patients is available. Therefore, there is a need to identify other therapeutic agents against this life-threatening disease. Plants are considered as one of the most important sources for the development of anticancer drugs. Magnolol, a natural compound possesses anticancer properties. However, effects of Magnolol on human gastric cancer remain unexplored. The effects of Magnolol on the viability of SGC-7901 cells were determined by the MTT assay. Apoptosis, mitochondrial membrane potential and cell cycle were evaluated by flow cytometry. Protein expression of Bcl-2, Bax, caspase-3 and PI3K/Akt was analysed by Western blotting. Magnolol induced morphological changes in SGC-7901 cells and its cytotoxic effects were linked with DNA damage, apoptosis and S-phase arrest in a dose-dependent manner. Magnolol triggered the mitochondrial-mediated apoptosis pathway as shown by an increased ratio of Bax/Bcl-2, dissipation of mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm), and sequential activation of caspase-3 and inhibition of PI3K/Akt. Additionally, Magnolol induced autophagy in SGC-7901 cells at high concentration but was not involved in cell death. Magnolol-induced apoptosis of SGC-7901 cells involves mitochondria and PI3K/Akt-dependent pathways. These findings provide evidence that Magnolol is a promising natural compound for the treatment of gastric cancer and may represent a candidate for in vivo studies of monotherapies or combination antitumor therapies.

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