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Glycyrrhizic Acid Inhibits Proliferation of Gastric Cancer Cells by Inducing Cell Cycle Arrest and Apoptosis

Authors Wang H, Ge X, Qu H, Wang N, Zhou J, Xu W, Xie J, Zhou Y, Shi L, Qin Z, Jiang Z, Yin W, Xia J

Received 2 January 2020

Accepted for publication 1 April 2020

Published 24 April 2020 Volume 2020:12 Pages 2853—2861

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CMAR.S244481

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Sanjeev Srivastava


Hao Wang,1,2,* Xuhui Ge,1,3,* Huiheng Qu,1,2,* Ning Wang,1,2 Jiawen Zhou,4 Wenjing Xu,1,2 Jingjing Xie,1,2 Yongping Zhou,1,2 Liqing Shi,1 Zhongke Qin,1 Zhuang Jiang,1,2 Wenjie Yin,1 Jiazeng Xia1,2

1Department of General Surgery and Translational Medicine Center, The Affiliated Wuxi No.2 People’s Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, Wuxi 214002, Jiangsu, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of General Surgery, Wuxi Clinical College Affiliated to Nantong University, Wuxi 214002, Jiangsu, People’s Republic of China; 3Department of Orthopedics, The First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing 210029, Jiangsu, People’s Republic of China; 4The State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Medicine; Key Laboratory for Aging & Disease, Research Centre for Bone and Stem Cells, Department of Human Anatomy, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing 211166, Jiangsu, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence: Jiazeng Xia
Department of General Surgery and Translational Medicine Center, The Affiliated Wuxi No.2 People’s Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, 68, Zhong Shan Road, Wuxi 214002, Jiangsu, People’s Republic of China
Email jiazengxia@yahoo.com

Purpose: Glycyrrhizic acid (GA) is the main active ingredient extracted from Chinese herb licorice root, and it shows anti-tumor effects in many cancer types, while its role in gastric cancer (GC) is still unknown. In this study, we evaluated the effects of GA on GC cells and explored the underlying mechanisms.
Methods: The anti-proliferation effect of GA on GC cells was assessed by CCK-8, colony formation, and EdU assay. The effects of GA on cell cycle and apoptosis were detected by flow cytometer. Western blotting was performed to explore the underlying mechanisms.
Results: Our results showed that GA had a time- and dose-dependent inhibitory effect on proliferation of GC cells. Flow cytometer analysis demonstrated that GA would lead to G1/S-phase arrest and apoptosis. GA treatment down-regulated the levels of G1 phase-related proteins, including cyclin D1, D2, D3, E1, and E2. In terms of apoptosis, GA treatment up-regulated the levels of Bax, cleaved PARP, and pro-caspase-3, -8, -9, but did not influence their cleavage patterns. The expression of Bcl-2, survivin and p65 was attenuated after treatment. Besides, GA would down-regulate the phosphorylation of PI3K/AKT pathway.
Conclusion: This study focused on inhibitory effect of GA on GC cells by inducing cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. Several important cyclins- and apoptosis-related proteins were involved in the regulation of GA to GC cells, and phosphorylated PI3K and AKT were attenuated. The results of this study indicated that GA is a potential and promising anti-cancer drug for GC.

Keywords: glycyrrhizic acid, gastric cancer, cell cycle, apoptosis, PI3K/AKT pathway

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