Gypenosides (Gyp), the primary components of Gynostemma pentaphyllum Makino, have long been used as a Chinese herbal medicine. In the present study, the effects of Gyp on cell viability, the cell cycle, cell apoptosis, DNA damage and chromatin condensation were investigated in vitro using human oral cancer HSC-3 cells. The results of the present study indicated that Gyp induces cell death, G2/M phase arrest and apoptosis in HSC-3 cells in a dose-dependent manner. It was also demonstrated that Gyp decreased the depolarization of mitochondrial membrane potential in a time-dependent manner. A cDNA microarray assay was performed and the results indicated that a number of genes were upregulated following Gyp treatment. The greatest increase was a 75.42-fold increase in the expression of GTP binding protein in skeletal muscle. Levels of the following proteins were also increased by Gyp: Serpine peptidase inhibitor, clade E, member 1 by 20.25-fold; ras homolog family member B by 18.04-fold, kelch repeat and BTB domain containing 8 by 15.22-fold; interleukin 11 by 14.96-fold; activating transcription factor 3 by 14.49-fold; cytochrome P450, family 1 by 14.44-fold; ADP-ribosylation factor-like 14 by 13.88-fold; transfer RNA selenocysteine 2 by 13.23-fold; and syntaxin 11 by 13.08-fold. However, the following genes were downregulated by GYP: Six-transmembrane epithelial antigen of prostate family member 4, 14.19-fold; γ-aminobutyric acid A receptor by 14.58-fold; transcriptional-regulating factor 1 by 14.69-fold; serpin peptidase inhibitor, clade B, member 13 by 14.71-fold; apolipoprotein L 1 by 14.85-fold; follistatin by 15.22-fold; uncharacterized LOC100506718; fibronectin leucine rich transmembrane protein 2 by 15.61-fold; microRNA 205 by 16.38-fold; neuregulin 1 by 19.69-fold; and G protein-coupled receptor 110 by 22.05-fold. These changes in gene expression illustrate the effects of Gyp at the genetic level and identify potential targets for oral cancer therapy.
Keywords: cDNA microarray; gene expression; gypenosides; human oral cancer.