Published online Apr 7, 2016. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v22.i13.3564
Peer-review started: November 25, 2015
First decision: December 11, 2015
Revised: December 21, 2015
Accepted: January 11, 2016
Article in press: January 11, 2016
Published online: April 7, 2016
AIM: To investigate the effect of Euphorbia esula (E. esula) extract in inhibiting proliferation and inducing apoptosis in SGC-7901 cells.
METHODS: E. esula extract at different concentrations was used to inhibit proliferation and induce apoptosis of human gastric carcinoma SGC-7901 cells. Inhibition of proliferation was detected with thiazolyl blue assay, and apoptosis was detected with fluorescence microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, and flow cytometry. The mechanisms were studied by measurement of caspase-3 and caspase-8 activities and Bax and Bcl2 mRNA expression.
RESULTS: The thiazolyl blue assay showed that SGC-7901 cell viability and proliferation were inhibited significantly by E. esula extract in a time- and concentration-dependent manner. Fluorescence microscopy revealed that the cell nuclei showed the characteristic changes of apoptosis, such as uneven staining and chromatin marginalization. Some key features of apoptosis were also observed under transmission electron microscopy, which included cellular shrinkage and the foaming or bubbling phenomenon. When the cells were analyzed by flow cytometry, a sub-G1 peak could be seen clearly. Spectrophotometric assay of caspase-3 and caspase-8 activities in the treated cells showed an approximately two-fold increase. Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction showed that Bax mRNA expression was upregulated, while Bcl2 mRNA expression was downregulated.
CONCLUSION: E. esula extract inhibited proliferation and induced apoptosis in SGC-7901 cells, in a caspase-dependent manner, involving upregulation of Bax and downregulation of Bcl2.
Core tip: Latex of Euphorbia esula (E. esula) is used to treat benign growths in traditional Chinese medicine. This led us to design an experiment to establish whether latex of E. esula can cause apoptosis. We found that E. esula extract inhibited proliferation and induced apoptosis in SGC-7901 cells, and that the action was caspase dependent and involved upregulation of Bax gene and downregulation of Bcl2 gene.