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Rosmarinic Acid Combined with Adriamycin Induces Apoptosis by Triggering Mitochondria-Mediated Signaling Pathway in HepG2 and Bel-7402 Cells

Youxia Huang, Yingjian Cai, Ronggui Huang, Xingzhong Zheng

(Department of Pharmacology, Quanzhou Medical College, Quanzhou, Fujian, China (mainland))

Med Sci Monit 2018; 24:7898-7908

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.910673

BACKGROUND: Hepatic carcinoma is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths. This study aimed to evaluate the anti-tumor effects of rosmarinic acid (RosA) combined with Adriamycin (ADM) on proliferation and apoptosis of hepatic carcinoma cell lines.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Human HepG2 and Bel-7402 cells were treated with RosA and ADM and divided into HepG2 or Bel-7402, 25 μg/ml, 50 μg/m, and 100 μg/ml RosA+0.4 μg/ml ADM groups, respectively. The Cell Counting Kit-8 (CCK-8) assay was used to evaluate cell viability. Immunohistochemistry assay was used to examine B cell lymphoma-2 (Bcl-2) and Bcl-2-associated X (Bax) expression. Cell cycle analysis was used to detect cell cycle distribution. Flow cytometry and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated d-UTP nick-end labeling (TUNEL) assay were utilized to evaluate apoptosis.
RESULTS: RosA combined with ADM damaged cell morphology and decreased cell viability, and significantly decreased S-phase cell numbers compared to the HepG2 or Bel-7402 group (p<0.05). Apoptosis rates in the RosA combined with ADM group were significantly increased compared to the HepG2 or Bel-7402 group (p<0.05). TUNEL assay showed that RosA combined with ADM significantly induced DNA damage (TUNEL-positive staining) in the HepG2 and Bel-7402 groups (p<0.05). RosA combined with ADM significantly reduced Bcl-2 expression in HepG2 or Bel-7402 cells (p<0.05). RosA combined with ADM significantly increased Bax expression in HepG2 and Bel-7402 cells (p<0.05). Cell viability, apoptosis, cell cycle, and Bcl-2 and Bax expression were changed with increased concentrations of RosA.
CONCLUSIONS: RosA combined with ADM damaged tumor cell morphologies, decreased cell viability, and induced apoptosis of HepG2 and Bel-7402 by triggering the mitochondria-mediated signaling pathway.

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