Apigenin induces apoptosis in Hep G2 cells: possible role of TNF-alpha and IFN-gamma

Toxicology. 2006 Jan 16;217(2-3):206-12. doi: 10.1016/j.tox.2005.09.019. Epub 2005 Nov 10.


Flavonoids are one of the biologically active plant food constituents, possessing potential chemopreventive properties against a wide variety of chronic diseases. Apigenin, a common dietary flavonoid abundantly present in fruits and vegetables is believed to possess preventive and therapeutic potential against various cancers. In the present study, we have evaluated regulation of apoptotic cell death by apigenin (25 and 50 microM) in human hepatoblastoma derived cell line Hep G2. Apigenin-induced programme cell death in terms of TNF-alpha, IFN-gamma release and induction of caspases activity. TNF-alpha and IFN-gamma levels in apigenin-pretreated groups were significantly and dose dependently elevated as compared to the control values (28-39% and 66-85%), (208-336% and 579-1088%), respectively. Treatment of apigenin significantly induced caspase-3, -7, -10 and caspase-9 activity (160-209% and 203-270%) in a dose-dependent manner. The effects on caspases, TNF-alpha, and IFN-gamma processes mediate the plausible mechanism of apoptosis induction of apigenin.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apigenin / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Apoptosis / physiology
  • Caspases / biosynthesis
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Enzyme Induction / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma / metabolism
  • Interferon-gamma / physiology*
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase / biosynthesis
  • Time Factors
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / physiology*


  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Apigenin
  • Interferon-gamma
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase
  • Caspases