Induction of apoptosis by total flavonoids from Scutellaria barbata D. Don in human hepatocarcinoma MHCC97-H cells via the mitochondrial pathway

Tumour Biol. 2014 Mar;35(3):2549-59. doi: 10.1007/s13277-013-1336-4. Epub 2013 Nov 13.


Scutellaria barbata D. Don, a traditional Chinese medicine, reportedly possesses antitumor activity against a variety of tumors. In the present study, we investigated the cytotoxic effect of total flavonoids from S. barbata (TF-SB) on human hepatocarcinoma cells and the underlying molecular mechanisms regarding the effect were explored. TF-SB treatment significantly reduced the cell viability of human HCC MHCC97-H cells in a dose-dependent manner. Further flow cytometric analysis showed that the apoptosis rate of MHCC97-H cells increased and the mitochondrial membrane potential (∆ψm) of MHCC97-H cells decreased after TF-SB treatment. DNA ladder showed that TF-SB induced a significant increase in DNA fragmentation in MHCC97-H cells. Reverse transcription PCR and Western blot analysis revealed that the expression levels of Smac, Apaf-1, Cytochrome c, Caspase-9, and Caspase-3 were upregulated in a dose-dependent manner and after treatment with different concentrations of TF-SB for 48 h. These results suggest that TF-SB induces apoptosis in MHCC97-H cells through the mitochondrial pathway.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis
  • Blotting, Western
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / pathology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • DNA Fragmentation
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology
  • Membrane Potential, Mitochondrial / drug effects*
  • Membrane Potential, Mitochondrial / physiology
  • Mitochondria / drug effects
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Scutellaria


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Flavonoids
  • Plant Extracts
  • Scutellaria barbata extract