In vitro study on the mechanisms of action of a novel phytotherapeutic compound against human hepatoma cells

Ann Hepatol. 2007 Apr-Jun;6(2):111-6.


HepG2 human hepatoma cells were incubated for 24 or 48 h with various concentrations of YHK solution. After 24 h incubation, cell proliferation and cytotoxicity were determined by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2- yl)-5-(3- carboxymethoxyphenyl)-2-(4-sulfophenyl)-2Htetrazolium (MTT) assay. Cytotoxicity or necrosis was expressed as lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release. After exponential growth phase HepG2 cells were treated with different doses of YHK and apoptosis was assessed by using an Annexin V-FITC kit. Further, oxidative stress was measured by dichlorofluorescein-diacetate (DCFH-DA) assay. As compared to control, YHK-treated cultures showed a significant time-course decrease of the proliferation rate of HepG2 cell growth (p < 0.01). This is likely to be due to an enhanced cytotoxicity (MTT and LDH tests) (p < 0.001). On the other hand, YHK showed in vitro to significantly enhance the oxidative stress of HepG2 cell (p < 0.01) while also markedly increasing apoptosis at 72 h with cells G2/M phase arrest (p < 0.01). These data suggest that YHK seem to modulate the extrinsic and intrinsic regulators of apoptosis and sensitize tumour cells to apoptosis. These preliminary data are worth interest when considering that this nutraceutical has been shown in vitro and in vivo to exert protective anti-tumour effect by redox statusmodulating and immuno-regulatory actions. Given its lack of toxicity so far reported, such natural product might represent an effective nutritional supplement in a number of pathological conditions where a chemopreventive strategy is planned.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / therapeutic use
  • Apoptosis
  • Biological Assay
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / prevention & control
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Liver Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Plant Preparations / pharmacology*
  • Plant Preparations / therapeutic use
  • Solutions


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Plant Preparations
  • Solutions
  • YHK herbal compound