Background: To investigate the effect of silibinin on proliferation and apoptosis in human gastric cancer cell line MGC803 and its possible mechanisms.
Materials and methods: Human gastric cancer cell line MGC803 cells were treated with various concentration of silibinin. Cellular viability was assessed by CCK-8 assay and apoptosis and cell cycle distribution by flow cytometry. Protein expression and mRNA of STAT3, and cell cycle and apoptosis regulated genes were detected by Western blotting and real-time polymerase chain reaction, respectively.
Results: Silibinin inhibits growth of MGC803 cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Silibinin effectively induces apoptosis of MGC803 cells and arrests MGC803 cells in the G2/M phase of the cell cycle, while decreasing the protein expression of p-STAT3, and of STAT3 downstream target genes including Mcl-1, Bcl-xL, survivin at both protein and mRNA levels. In addition, silibinin caused an increase in caspase 3 and caspase 9 protein as well as mRNA levels. Silibinin caused G2/M phage arrest accompanied by a decrease in CDK1 and Cyclin B1 at protein and mRNA levels..
Conclusions: These results suggest that silibinin inhibits the proliferation of MGC803 cells, and it induces apoptosis and causes cell cycle arrest by down-regulating CDK1, cyclinB1, survivin, Bcl-xl, Mcl-1 and activating caspase 3 and caspase 9, potentially via the STAT3 pathway.