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Chin J Integr Med. 2014 Jun;20(6):430-7. doi: 10.1007/s11655-013-1536-1. Epub 2013 Aug 13.

The ethanol extract isolated from Weiqi Decoction induces G₂/M arrest and apoptosis in AGS cells.

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Institute of Digestive Disease, Longhua Hospital, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai, 200032, China.



To evaluate the effects of the ethanol extract isolated from Weiqi Decoction (WQD-EE) on AGS cell proliferation and apoptosis.


By using high-performance liquid chromatography with ultraviolet detectors (HPLC-UV) assay and MTT method, the main compounds in WQD-EE and cell viability were detected. And cell cycle distributions were determined by flow cytometry with propidium iodine (PI) staining while apoptosis was detected by flow cytometry with annexin V/PI double staining. Finally, caspase-3 activities were measured by colorimetric method and protein expression was determined by Western blotting.


HPLC analysis showed that naringin (35.92 μg/mg), nobiletin (21.98 μg/mg), neohesperidin (17.98 μg/mg) and tangeretin (0.756 μg/mg) may be the main compounds in WQD-EE. WQD-EE not only inhibited AGS and MCF 7 cell proliferation in a dose-dependent manner, but also blocked cell cycle progression at G2/M stage as well as inducing cell apoptosis at concentrations triggering significant inhibition of proliferation and cell cycle arrest in AGS cells. While at 0.5 mg/mL, WQD-EE significantly increased caspase-3 activity by 2.75 and 7.47 times at 24 h and 48 h, respectively. Moreover, WQD-EE in one hand reduced protein expressions of p53 and cyclin B1, and in other hand enhanced protein expressions of cytochrome c and Bax. Protein levels of Bcl-2, Fas L and Fas were not significantly affected by WQD-EE.


WQD-EE inhibits AGS cell proliferation through G2/M arrest due to down-regulation of cyclin B1 protein expression, and promotes apoptosis by caspase-3 and mitochondria-dependent pathways, but not by p53-dependent pathway.

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