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J Asian Nat Prod Res. 2012;14(8):789-98. doi: 10.1080/10286020.2012.694873. Epub 2012 Jun 14.

Isoliquiritigenin treatment induces apoptosis by increasing intracellular ROS levels in HeLa cells.

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  • 1Lanzhou University Second Hospital, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China.


This study focuses on the relationship between the apoptosis induced by isoliquiritigenin (ISL) and the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Cell viability was evaluated using sulforhodamine B assay. The apoptotic rate was determined via flow cytometry. Intracellular ROS level was assessed using the 2,7-dichlorofluorescein probe assay. Poly-ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) protein expression was examined using Western blot analysis. The results showed that ISL treatment inhibited cell proliferation by inducing apoptosis. The increased apoptotic rate and ROS production induced by ISL were inhibited by the co-treatment of ISL and free radical scavenger N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC), catalase (CAT), and 4,5-dihydroxyl-1,3-benzededisulfonic acid (Tiron). On the contrary, the increased apoptotic rate and the ROS production were compensated by the co-treatment of ISL and l-buthionine-(S,R)-sulfoximine (BSO). ISL treatment increased the degradation of PARP, which was counteracted by antioxidants (NAC or CAT), whereas the combination treatment of ISL and pro-oxidant (BSO) enhanced the PARP degradation induced by ISL. Our findings suggested that ISL treatment induced apoptosis by increasing intracellular ROS levels in HeLa cells.

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