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The Apoptotic Effect of Ursolic Acid on SK-Hep-1 Cells is Regulated by the PI3K/Akt, p38 and JNK MAPK Signaling Pathways



The Apoptotic Effect of Ursolic Acid on SK-Hep-1 Cells is Regulated by the PI3K/Akt, p38 and JNK MAPK Signaling Pathways



Molecules 21(4): 460



Ursolic acid (UA) is a pentacyclic triterpene acid that is present in a wide variety of medicinal herbs and edible plants. This study investigated the effect of UA on apoptosis and proliferation of hepatocellular carcinoma SK-Hep-1 cells. After treatment of SK-Hep-1 cells with different concentrations of UA, we observed that cell viability was reduced in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Furthermore, there was a dose-dependent increase in the percentage of cells in the sub-G1 and G2/M phases, with cells treated with 60 μM showing the highest percentages of cells in those phases. UA-induced chromatin condensation of nuclei was observed by using DAPI staining. The western blot results revealed that exposure to UA was associated with decreased expression of the anti-apoptotic proteins Mcl-1, Bcl-xL, Bcl-2, and TCTP and increased expression of apoptosis-related proteins TNF-α, Fas, FADD, Bax, cleaved caspase-3, caspase-8, caspase-9, and PARP. Immunocytochemistry staining showed that treatment with UA resulted in increased expression of caspase-3. Moreover, exposure to UA resulted in the inhibition of the PI3K/Akt and p38 MAPK signaling pathways. These findings suggest that UA inhibits the proliferation of SK-Hep-1 cells and induces apoptosis.

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Accession: 058991153

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PMID: 27104510

DOI: 10.3390/molecules21040460


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