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Article

Saponins Isolated from Asparagus Induce Apoptosis in Human Hepatoma Cell Line HepG2 Through a Mitochondrial-Mediated Pathway

by 1,2, 1,2,*, 3 and 2
1
Engineering Research Center of Natural Anticancer Drugs, Ministry of Education, Harbin, China
2
Center of Research on Life Science and Environmental Science, Harbin University of Commerce, Harbin, China
3
Department of Biological Science and Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Curr. Oncol. 2012, 19(s1), 1-9; https://doi.org/10.3747/co.19.1139
Received: 9 April 2012 / Revised: 9 May 2012 / Accepted: 12 June 2012 / Published: 1 July 2012

Abstract

Objective: Many scientific studies have shown that Asparagus officinalis has an antitumour effect and enhances human immunity, but the active components and the antitumour mechanisms are unclear. We investigated the effects of saponins isolated from Asparagus on proliferation and apoptosis in the human hepatoma cell line HepG2. Methods: HepG2 cells were treated with varying concentrations of Asparagus saponins at various times. Using mtt and flow cytometry assays, we evaluated the effects of Asparagus saponins on the growth and apoptosis of HepG2 cells. Transmission electron microscopy was used to observe the morphology of cell apoptosis. Confocal laser scanning microscopy was used to analyze intracellular calcium ion concentration, mitochondrial permeability transition pore (MPTP), and mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP). Spectrophotometry was applied to quantify the activity of caspase-9 and caspase-3. Flow cytometry was used to investigate the levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and pH, and the expressions of Bcl2, Bax, CytC, and caspase-3, in HepG2 cells. Results: Asparagus saponins inhibited the growth of HepG2 cells in a dose-dependent manner. The median inhibitory concentration (IC50) was 101.15 mg/L at 72 hours. The apoptosis morphology at 72 hours of treatment was obvious, showing cell protuberance, concentrated cytoplasm, and apoptotic bodies. The apoptotic rates at 72 hours were 30.9%, 51.7%, and 62.1% (for saponin concentrations of 50 mg/L, 100 mg/L, 200 mg/L). Treatment with Asparagus saponins for 24 hours increased the intracellular level of ROS and Ca2+, lowered the pH, activated intracellular MPTP, and decreased MMP in a dose-dependent manner. Treatment also increased the activity of caspase-9 and caspase-3, downregulated the expression of Bcl2, upregulated the expression of Bax, and induced release of CytC and activation of caspase-3. Conclusions: Asparagus saponins induce apoptosis in HepG2 cells through a mitochondrial-mediated and caspase-dependent pathway, suggesting that they may be a potent agent for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma.
Keywords: Asparagus; saponins; hepatocellular carcinoma; apoptosis; mitochondrial pathway; caspase; laser scanning confocal microscope; flow cytometry Asparagus; saponins; hepatocellular carcinoma; apoptosis; mitochondrial pathway; caspase; laser scanning confocal microscope; flow cytometry

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MDPI and ACS Style

Ji, Y.; Ji, C.; Yue, L.; Xu, H. Saponins Isolated from Asparagus Induce Apoptosis in Human Hepatoma Cell Line HepG2 Through a Mitochondrial-Mediated Pathway. Curr. Oncol. 2012, 19, 1-9. https://doi.org/10.3747/co.19.1139

AMA Style

Ji Y, Ji C, Yue L, Xu H. Saponins Isolated from Asparagus Induce Apoptosis in Human Hepatoma Cell Line HepG2 Through a Mitochondrial-Mediated Pathway. Current Oncology. 2012; 19(s1):1-9. https://doi.org/10.3747/co.19.1139

Chicago/Turabian Style

Ji, Y., C. Ji, L. Yue, and H. Xu. 2012. "Saponins Isolated from Asparagus Induce Apoptosis in Human Hepatoma Cell Line HepG2 Through a Mitochondrial-Mediated Pathway" Current Oncology 19, no. s1: 1-9. https://doi.org/10.3747/co.19.1139

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