Int J Med Sci 2020; 17(3):338-346. doi:10.7150/ijms.39436

Research Paper

Aqueous Ocimum gratissimum extract induces cell apoptosis in human hepatocellular carcinoma cells

Chen-Cheng Huang1,2, Jin-Ming Hwang3, Jen-Hsiang Tsai4, Jing Huei Chen5, Ho Lin6, Geng-Jhih Lin6, Hsin-Ling Yang7, Jer-Yuh Liu5,8✉, Chiou-Ying Yang1✉, Je-Chiuan Ye9,10✉

1. Institute of Molecular Biology College of Life Science, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung, Taiwan
2. Division of Chest Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Taichung Hospital, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Taichung, Taiwan
3. School of Applied Chemistry, Chung-Shan Medical University, Taichung 40201, Taiwan
4. Basic Medical Science Education Center, College of Medicine and Health, Fooyin University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
5. Graduate Institute of Biomedical Sciences, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan
6. Department of Life Science, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung, Taiwan
7. Institute of Nutrition, College of Biopharmaceutical and Food Sciences, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan
8. Center for Molecular Medicine, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan
9. Department of Bachelor's Degree Program for Indigenous Peoples in Senior Health and Care Management, National Taitung University, Taitung, Taiwan
10. Master Program in Biomedical Science, National Taitung University, Taitung, Taiwan

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Citation:
Huang CC, Hwang JM, Tsai JH, Chen JH, Lin H, Lin GJ, Yang HL, Liu JY, Yang CY, Ye JC. Aqueous Ocimum gratissimum extract induces cell apoptosis in human hepatocellular carcinoma cells. Int J Med Sci 2020; 17(3):338-346. doi:10.7150/ijms.39436. Available from http://www.medsci.org/v17p0338.htm

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Abstract

Treatment of advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has exhibited a poor overall survival rate of only six to ten months, and the urgency of the development of more effective novel agents is ever present. In this line of research, we aimed to investigate the effects and inhibitive mechanisms of aqueous Ocimum gratissimum leaf extract (OGE), the extract of Ocimum gratissimum, which is commonly used as a therapeutic herb for its numerous pharmacological properties, on malignant HCC cells. Our results showed that OGE decreased the cell viability of HCC SK-Hep1 and HA22T cells in a dose-dependent manner (from 400 to 800 µg/mL), while there is little effect on Chang liver cells. Moreover, cell-cycle analysis shows increased Sub-G1 cell count in SK-Hep1 and HA22T cells which is not observed in Chang liver cells. These findings raise suspicion that the OGE-induced cell death may be mediated through proteins that regulate cell cycle and apoptosis in SK-Hep1 and HA22T cells, and further experimentation revealed that OGE treatment resulted in a dose-dependent decrease in caspase 3 and PARP expressions and in CDK4and p-ERK1/2expressions. Moreover, animal tests also exhibited decreased HCC tumor growth by OGE treatment. We therefore suggest that the inhibition of cell viability and tumor growth induced by OGE may be correlated to the alteration of apoptosis-related proteins.

Keywords: Ocimum gratissimum, hepatocellular carcinoma, cell cycle arrest