Weikang Keli (constitutes of Root of Codonopsis pilosula, Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae, Rhizoma Curcumae Aeruginosae, Rhizoma Pinelliae, Actinidia chinensis Planch, and Rhodiola rosea) is a well known Chinese herbal formula for gastric cancer therapy in clinical treatment. However, the detailed molecular mechanisms involved are still not fully understood. In this study, we found that Weikang Keli could induce patterns of autophagy in SGC-7901 cells, including intracellular vacuole formation, microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 (LC3) conversion. Hoechst 33258 staining and Western blot analysis of apoptosis-related proteins showed that WK induced SGC-7901 cell death was not through apoptosis. In vivo study also revealed that i.g. administration of Weikang Keli once a day for 25 days could significantly reduce tumor volumes by about 50%. Collectively, the current data indicated that Weikang Keli induced gastric cancer cell death by autophagy effects.
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