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Carnosic acid induces apoptosis associated with mitochondrial dysfunction and Akt inactivation in HepG2 cells.

International journal of food sciences and nutrition (2014-09-30)
Qisen Xiang, Yunfang Ma, Jilin Dong, Ruiling Shen
ABSTRACT

Carnosic acid (CA), a phenolic diterpene isolated from rosemary, shows potential benefits in health promotion and disease prevention. In the present study, the cytotoxic and apoptotic-inducing effects of CA on human hepatocellular carcinoma HepG2 cells were investigated. The MTT assay results indicated that CA decreased cell viability in HepG2 cells in a dose-dependent manner. Treatment with CA caused a rapid Caspase-3 activation and subsequently proteolytic cleavage of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP), both of which were markers of cells undergoing apoptosis. CA also dissipated mitochondrial membrane potential and decreased the ratio of Bcl-2/Bax protein, which mediated cytosolic translocation of cytochrome c from the mitochondria. Furthermore, CA reduced the phosphorylation of Akt, which was partially inhibited by insulin, an activator of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt signalling pathway. In conclusion, our data suggest that the mitochondrial dysfunction and deactivation of Akt may contribute to the apoptosis-inducing effects of CA.

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