The caper plant (Capparis spinosa L.) was a common Uyghur folk medicine, and is a member of the Capparidaceae family. In a previous study, the n-butanol extract of C. spinosa L. (CSBE) was demonstrated to exert anti-tumor activity; however, the underlying mechanism is currently not understood. The present study aimed to elucidate the mechanism underlying the CSBE-induced mitochondrial apoptotic pathway, in order to investigate the anti-tumor effects of this plant extract. CSBE-induced apoptosis of the SGC-7901 human gastric cancer cell line was observed, and alterations in the expression levels and localization of initiators, markers, and executors of the mitochondrial apoptosis pathway were analyzed. Following treatment of SGC-7901 cells with CBSE, proliferation was inhibited and apoptosis was induced; and these effects were associated with mitochondrial membrane potential disruption, cytochrome c release into the cytoplasm, and caspase-9 and caspase-3 activation. CSBE may have induced SGC-7901 cell apoptosis by upregulating the expression of B-cell lymphoma-2 (BCL-2)-associated X protein, and downregulating the expression of BCL-2. The results of the present study suggested that CSBE may induce SGC-7901 cell apoptosis via activation of the mitochondrial apoptosis pathway.
Keywords: Capparis spinosa L.; SGC-7901 cells; anti-tumor; mitochondrial apoptosis; n-butanol extract.