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Food Chem Toxicol. 2006 Aug;44(8):1316-26. Epub 2006 Feb 28.

Apoptotic effects of Antrodia cinnamomea fruiting bodies extract are mediated through calcium and calpain-dependent pathways in Hep 3B cells.

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Department of Biotechnology, Chia-Nan University of Pharmacy and Science, Tainan, Taiwan.


Antrodia cinnamomea is well known in Taiwan as a traditional medicine for treating cancer and inflammation. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the apoptotic effects of ethylacetate extract from A. cinnamomea (EAC) fruiting bodies in Hep 3B, a liver cancer cell line. EAC decreased cell proliferation of Hep 3B cells by inducing apoptotic cell death. EAC treatment increased the level of calcium (Ca2+) in the cytoplasm and triggered the subsequent activation of calpain and caspase-12. EAC also initiated the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway through regulation of Bcl-2 family proteins expression, release of cytochrome c, and activation of caspase-9 in Hep 3B cells. Furthermore, the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway amplified the calpain pathway by Bid and Bax interaction and Ca2+ translocation. We have therefore concluded that the molecular mechanisms during EAC-mediated proliferation inhibition in Hep 3B cells were due to: (1) apoptosis induction, (2) triggering of Ca2+/calpain pathway, (3) disruption of mitochondrial function, and (4) apoptotic signaling being amplified by cross-talk between the calpain/Bid/Bax and Ca2+/mitochondrial apoptotic pathways.

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