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Tumour Biol. 2014 Aug;35(8):7719-26. doi: 10.1007/s13277-014-2014-x. Epub 2014 May 8.

The apoptotic effect of apigenin on human gastric carcinoma cells through mitochondrial signal pathway.

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Medical School of Taizhou University, Taizhou, Zhejiang, 318000, China.


This study aims to explore the apoptotic function of apigenin on the gastric cancer cells and the related mechanism. The gastric cancer cell lines HGC-27 and SGC-7901, and normal gastric epithelial cell line GES1 were treated with different concentrations of apigenin. Cell proliferation was tested. Morphological changes of the apoptotic cells were observed after Hoechst33342 staining. The apoptosis rate of the gastric cancer cells were measured with flow cytometry. Changes of the cell cycle were explored. The mitochondrial membrane potential changes were analyzed after JC-1 staining. Bcl-2 family proteins and caspases-3 expression with apigenin treatment was analyzed by real-time PCR. Cell proliferation of HGC-27 and SGC-7901 was inhibited by apigenin, and the inhibition was dose-time-dependent. Gastric carcinoma cells treated by apigenin had no obvious cell cycle arrest, but were observed with the higher apoptosis rate and the typical apoptotic morphological changes of the cell nucleus. JC-1 staining showed that apigenin could reduce mitochondrial membrane potential of gastric carcinoma cells. Real-time PCR results showed that apigenin significantly increased caspase-3 and Bax expression level, and down-regulated Bcl-2 expression in a dose-dependent manner in gastric carcinoma cells. However, the GES1 was almost not affected by apigenin treatment. Apigenin can inhibit cell lines HGC-27 and SGC-7901 proliferation in a time and dose-dependent manner, reduce anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2 levels, enhance apoptosis-promoting protein Bax level, result in mitochondrial membrane potential decreasing and caspase-3 enzyme activating, then lead to cell apoptosis.

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