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J Vet Sci. 2012 Mar;13(1):7-13.

Elm tree bark extract inhibits HepG2 hepatic cancer cell growth via pro-apoptotic activity.

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College of Veterinary Medicine, Chungbuk National University, Cheongju 361-763, Korea.


Control of inflammation is widely accepted as an important strategy for cancer chemoprevention. Anti-inflammatory effects of bark extracts of elm tree (BEE) have been amply reported. Therefore, BEE may be a good candidate cancer chemopreventive agent. Considering the high incidence of hepatic cancer and limited therapeutic approaches for treating this disease, it is important to develop liver cancer-specific chemopreventive agents. To evaluate the chemopreventive potential of BEE, we investigated the growth inhibition effect of BEE on the HepG2 human hepatocellular carcinoma cell line. We performed a cell counting kit-8 assay to determine cell viability, and 4,6-diamino-2-phenylindole staining and flow cytometry to measure apoptotic cell death. Finally, the expression levels of pro- and anti-apoptotic proteins were measured. BEE inhibited the growth of HepG2 cells and induced apoptosis in a dose-dependent manner. Pro-apoptotic activity was promoted via the mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis, as demonstrated by the activation of pro-apoptotic proteins Bax, caspase-9, caspase-3, and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase as well as the down-regulation of the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2. These results suggest that BEE may have potential use in hepatic cancer chemoprevention by suppressing cancer cell growth via pro-apoptotic activity.

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