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Theabrownin Induces Apoptosis and Tumor Inhibition of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Huh7 Cells Through ASK1-JNK-c-Jun Pathway

Authors Xu J, Yan B, Zhang L, Zhou L, Zhang J, Yu W, Dong X, Yao L, Shan L

Received 20 March 2020

Accepted for publication 4 August 2020

Published 9 September 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 8977—8987


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Federico Perche

Jiaan Xu,1,2 Bo Yan,1,2 Lei Zhang,3 Li Zhou,2 Jin Zhang,4 Wenhua Yu,5 Xiaoqiao Dong,5 Li Yao,1 Letian Shan2

1College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Zhejiang Chinese Medical University, Hangzhou, People’s Republic of China; 2The First Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang Chinese Medical University, Hangzhou, People’s Republic of China; 3School of Biological and Chemical Engineering, Zhejiang University of Science and Technology, Hangzhou, People’s Republic of China; 4Theabio Co., Ltd, Hangzhou, People’s Republic of China; 5Department of Neurosurgery, Affiliated Hangzhou First People’s Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou, People’s Republic of China

Correspondence: Letian Shan; Li Yao Email [email protected]; [email protected]

Purpose: Theabrownin (TB), a main pigment and bioactive component of tea, has been shown anti-tumor activities against carcinomas, but its effects on hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remain unclear.
Methods: Hepatocellular carcinoma Huh7 cells were used for analyses. Cell viability assay was performed to determine TB′s anti-proliferative effect, and flow cytometry with annexin V-FITC/PI double staining and DAPI staining were performed to determine its pro-apoptotic effect. Real-time PCR and Western blot assays were conducted to detect the molecular actions of TB. And a xenograft model of zebrafishes was established to evaluate the in vivo effect of TB. SP600125 (JNK inhibitor) was in vivo and in vitro used to verify the regulatory role of the JNK signaling pathway in the anti-hepatic carcinoma mechanism of TB.
Results: TB exerted significant anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic effects on Huh7 cells in a dose-dependent manner. The molecular data showed that TB up-regulated the gene expressions of NOXA, PUMA, P21, Bax, and Bim and up-regulated the protein expressions of ASK-1, Bax, phosphorylated JNK, and phosphorylated c-Jun with down-regulation of Bcl-2. The in vivo data showed that TB exerted significant tumor-inhibitory effect which was even stronger than that of cis-platinum. Furthermore, the JNK inhibitor significantly weakened TB′s effects both in vivo and in vitro and blocked the related molecular pathway.
Conclusion: TB exerts anti-proliferative, pro-apoptotic, and tumor-inhibitory effects on Huh7 cells through activation of the JNK signaling pathway. For the first time, this study provides new evidence of anti-HCC effects and mechanism of TB.

Keywords: hepatocellular carcinoma, theabrownin, apoptosis, JNK, zebrafish

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