• Open Access

Berberine induces cell death in human hepatoma cells in vitro by downregulating CD147

Authors

  • Qian Hou,

    1. Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Xijing Hospital, The Fourth Military Medical University, Xi’an
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    • These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Xu Tang,

    1. Department of Pathology, Sichuan College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Mianyang
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    • These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Hanqiang Liu,

    1. Department of Cell Biology and Cell Engineering Research Center and State Key Laboratory of Cancer Biology, The Fourth Military Medical University, Xi’an
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    • These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Junqi Tang,

    1. Institute of Basic Medicine, Xi’an Medical University, Xi’an, China
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    • These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Ying Yang,

    1. Institute of Basic Medicine, Xi’an Medical University, Xi’an, China
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  • Xiaohong Jing,

    1. Institute of Basic Medicine, Xi’an Medical University, Xi’an, China
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  • Qian Xiao,

    1. Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Xijing Hospital, The Fourth Military Medical University, Xi’an
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  • Wen Wang,

    1. Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Xijing Hospital, The Fourth Military Medical University, Xi’an
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  • Xingchun Gou,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Xijing Hospital, The Fourth Military Medical University, Xi’an
    2. Institute of Basic Medicine, Xi’an Medical University, Xi’an, China
      To whom correspondence should be addressed.
      E-mail: gouxingchun@189.cn; zongren@fmmu.edu.cn
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  • Zongren Wang

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Xijing Hospital, The Fourth Military Medical University, Xi’an
      To whom correspondence should be addressed.
      E-mail: gouxingchun@189.cn; zongren@fmmu.edu.cn
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To whom correspondence should be addressed.
E-mail: gouxingchun@189.cn; zongren@fmmu.edu.cn

Abstract

The isoquinoline plant alkaloid berberine has anti-tumor effects on a variety of carcinoma cells, mainly through inhibition of cell proliferation, apoptosis induction and cell cycle arrest. However, the mechanisms underlying its role in tumor progression are unknown. In the present study, we investigated the molecular mechanisms involved in berberine-induced cell death in human hepatoma carcinoma cell (HCC) lines HepG2 and SMMC7721. Our results showed that berberine inhibited tumor cell viability in a dose- and time-dependent manner, and induced cell death via apoptosis and autophagy. Moreover, berberine treatment significantly inhibited CD147 expression by HCC cells in a dose-dependent manner. Overexpression of CD147 protein markedly reduced berberine-induced cell death. Our data provide the first experimental evidence that berberine induces cell death in HCC cells via downregulation of CD147 and suggest a new mechanism to explain its anti-tumor effects. (Cancer Sci 2011; 102: 1287–1292)

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