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Iran J Pharm Res. 2016 Spring;15(2):491-9.

Matrine inhibits diethylnitrosamine-induced HCC proliferation in rats through inducing apoptosis via p53, Bax-dependent caspase-3 activation pathway and down-regulating MLCK overexpression.

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Food and Drug College of Anhui Science and Technology University, Bengbu 233100, P.R. China.


The proliferation of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells is one of the leading causes of liver cancer mortality in humans. The inhibiting effects of matrine on HCC cell proliferation have been studied, but the mechanism of that inhibition has not been fully elucidated. Since, apoptosis plays an important role in HCC cell proliferation. We examined the apoptosis-inducing effect of matrine on tumor cells. Western blot analysis of p53, Bax, cleaved caspase-3 and myosin light chain kinase (MLCK) revealed that matrine induced tumor cell apoptosis by controlling anoikis. It activated p53, Bax-dependent caspase-3 and blocked the ECM-integrin mediated cell survival pathway through down-regulating MLCK over-expression in the liver of rats with diethyl nitrosamine (DENA)-induced HCC. Our results suggest that matrine can inhibit the proliferation of HCC cells through inducing tumor cell apoptosis via activation of the p53 pathway and inhibition of MLCK overexpression. Matrine may thus be used as a potentially promising reagent to inhibit HCC cell proliferation and MLCK may be a novel target for the treatment of HCC.


Aapoptosis; HCC cell proliferation; Matrine; Myosin light chain kinase; P53


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