Apoptosis of human gastric carcinoma cells induced by Euphorbia esula latex

World J Gastroenterol. 2016 Apr 7;22(13):3564-72. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v22.i13.3564.


Aim: To investigate the effect of Euphorbia esula (E. esula) extract in inhibiting proliferation and inducing apoptosis in SGC-7901 cells.

Methods: E. esula extract at different concentrations was used to inhibit proliferation and induce apoptosis of human gastric carcinoma SGC-7901 cells. Inhibition of proliferation was detected with thiazolyl blue assay, and apoptosis was detected with fluorescence microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, and flow cytometry. The mechanisms were studied by measurement of caspase-3 and caspase-8 activities and Bax and Bcl2 mRNA expression.

Results: The thiazolyl blue assay showed that SGC-7901 cell viability and proliferation were inhibited significantly by E. esula extract in a time- and concentration-dependent manner. Fluorescence microscopy revealed that the cell nuclei showed the characteristic changes of apoptosis, such as uneven staining and chromatin marginalization. Some key features of apoptosis were also observed under transmission electron microscopy, which included cellular shrinkage and the foaming or bubbling phenomenon. When the cells were analyzed by flow cytometry, a sub-G1 peak could be seen clearly. Spectrophotometric assay of caspase-3 and caspase-8 activities in the treated cells showed an approximately two-fold increase. Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction showed that Bax mRNA expression was upregulated, while Bcl2 mRNA expression was downregulated.

Conclusion: E. esula extract inhibited proliferation and induced apoptosis in SGC-7901 cells, in a caspase-dependent manner, involving upregulation of Bax and downregulation of Bcl2.

Keywords: Apoptosis; Bax; Bcl2; Caspase; Euphorbia esula Linn; Gastric carcinoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / isolation & purification
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins / genetics
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins / metabolism
  • Carcinoma / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma / genetics
  • Carcinoma / metabolism
  • Carcinoma / ultrastructure
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Euphorbia / chemistry
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Latex / isolation & purification
  • Latex / pharmacology*
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plants, Medicinal
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Stomach Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / genetics
  • Stomach Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Stomach Neoplasms / ultrastructure
  • Time Factors


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • Latex
  • Plant Extracts