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Food Chem Toxicol. 2012 Sep;50(9):3313-9. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2012.06.014. Epub 2012 Jun 18.

Alantolactone induces activation of apoptosis in human hepatoma cells.

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Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University, Wuhan 430060, People's Republic of China.


Alantolactone, a sesquiterpene lactone, possesses anti-inflammatory property. In this study, we provide evidence that it could be developed as a novel agent against human liver cancer. We observed that alantolactone treatment to HepG2, Bel-7402 and SMMC-7721 cells, human liver cancer cell lines resulted in a dose-dependent inhibition of cell growth. We selected HepG2 cell line as a test model system. Alantolactone treatment of HepG2 cells resulted in a dose-dependent induction of apoptosis and arrest of cells in G2-M phase. This induction of apoptosis seems to be mediated via modulating the protein levels of Bcl-2 family and activation of caspases. Moreover, caspase-8 and Bid activation, loss of mitochondrial transmembrane potential and cytochrome c release suggest the existence of a cross-talk between the death receptor and the mitochondrial pathways. We also observed that alantolactone treatment of cells resulted in a dose-dependent decrease in NF- κB/p65. In addition, a significant and progressive increase in the level of p53 protein in alantolactone-treated cells was observed. Taken together, our data suggest that alantolactone could be developed as an agent against human liver cancer.

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