Fraxetin suppresses cell proliferation and induces apoptosis through mitochondria dysfunction in human hepatocellular carcinoma cell lines Huh7 and Hep3B

Jisoo Song, Jiyeon Ham, Taeyeon Hong, Gwonhwa Song, Whasun Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Fraxetin is a coumarin scaffold compound extracted from Fraxinus rhynchophylla. It has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, and antifibrotic effects. Furthermore, fraxetin has anticancer effects in breast and lung cancer. We aimed to evaluate whether fraxetin has anticancer activity in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells and its underlying mechanism. We demonstrated the anticancer effects of fraxetin in the HCC cell lines Huh7 and Hep3B. We confirmed that frax-etin inhibited cell proliferation (42% ± 10% Huh7; 52% ± 7% Hep3B) by arresting the cell cycle and inducing apoptosis in both cell lines. Moreover, fraxetin increased reactive oxygen species production (221% ± 55% Huh7; 460% ± 73% Hep3B), depolarized the mitochondrial membranes (∆Ψm) (345% ± 160% Huh7; 462% ± 140% Hep3B), and disrupted calcium homeostasis in both HCC cell lines. Chelating calcium ions with BAPTA-AM restored proliferation in fraxetin-treated Huh7 cells but not in Hep3B cells. Fraxetin did not affect the phosphorylation of extracellular-signal-regulated kinase 1/2, whereas it decreased JNK and phosphoinositide 3-kinase signaling. Furthermore, fraxetin and mitogen-activated protein kinase pharmacological inhibitors had synergistic antiproliferative effects on HCC cells. Although our study was limited to in vitro data that require validation, we suggest that fraxetin is a potential therapeutic agent against HCC progression.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalPharmaceutics
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jan

Keywords

  • Fraxetin
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Mitochondria
  • Signal transduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science

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