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Am J Chin Med. 2015;43(1):137-48. doi: 10.1142/S0192415X15500093. Epub 2015 Feb 5.

Celastrol induces mitochondria-mediated apoptosis in hepatocellular carcinoma Bel-7402 cells.

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Institute of Clinical Pharmacology, Anhui Medical University, Hefei 230032, Anhui, P.R. China.


Celastrol is a natural terpenoid isolated from Tripterygium wilfordii, a well-known Chinese medicinal herb that presents anti-proliferative activities in several cancer cell lines. Here, we investigated whether celastrol induces apoptosis on hepatocellular carcinoma Bel-7402 cells and further explored the underlying molecular mechanisms. Celastrol caused a dose- and time-dependent growth inhibition and apoptosis of Bel-7402 cells. It increased apoptosis through the up-regulation of Bax and the down-regulation of Bcl-2 in Bel-7402 cells. Moreover, celastrol induced the release of cytochrome c and increased the activation of caspase-3 and caspase-9, suggesting that celastrol-induced apoptosis was related to the mitochondrial pathway. These results indicated that celastrol could induce apoptosis in Bel-7402 cells, which may be associated with the activation of the mitochondria-mediated pathway.


Apoptosis; Celastrol; Mitochondria-mediated pathway

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