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Astragalus polysaccharide induces the apoptosis of human hepatocellular carcinoma cells by decreasing the expression of Notch1

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Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the third most frequent cause of cancer death worldwide. Astragalus polysaccharide (APS), the primary active component extracted from a traditional Chinese medicinal herb Astragalus membranaceus, has been proved to exert a marked inhibitory effect on a number of types of human solid tumors. In the present study, we aimed to examine the effects of APS on the survival of the HCC cell line H22 and to elucidate the underlying regulatory mechanisms responsible for these effects. Our results revealed that the mRNA and protein expression of Notch1 was significantly upregulated in the HCC tissues compared with that in the normal tissues. APS decreased cell viability and induced the apoptosis of HCC cells in a concentration-dependent manner, which were evaluated using a cell counting kit-8 (CCK-8) assay and flow cytometric analysis, respectively. Furthermore, APS regulated the expression of apoptosis-related genes (Bcl-2 and BAX) and proteases (caspase-3 and -8). Mechanically, Notch1 expression was found to be suppressed in HCC cells, and further analysis indicated that Notch1 knockdown by siRNA significantly reduced cell viability, suppressed the metastatic capacity and enhanced the apoptosis of HCC cells. Taken together, these findings suggest that Notch1 may be a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of HCC.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of General Surgery, Jinshan Hospital Affiliated to Fudan University, Shanghai 201508, P.R. China

Publication date: January 1, 2016

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  • The International Journal of Molecular Medicine is a monthly, peer-reviewed journal devoted to the publication of high quality studies related to the molecular mechanisms of human disease. The journal welcomes research on all aspects of molecular and clinical research, ranging from biochemistry to immunology, pathology, genetics, human genomics, microbiology, molecular pathogenesis, molecular cardiology, molecular surgery and molecular psychology.

    The International Journal of Molecular Medicine aims to provide an insight for researchers within the community in regard to developing molecular tools and identifying molecular targets for the diagnosis and treatment of a diverse number of human diseases.
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