Houttuynia cordata Thunb (H cordata), a medicinal plant, has anticancer activity, as it inhibits cell growth and induces cell apoptosis in cancer. However, the potential anti-cancer activity and mechanism of H cordata for human liver cancer cells is not well understood. Recently, we identified hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1A, Forkhead box (FOX)O3, and MEF2A as proapoptotic factors induced by H cordata, suggesting that HIF-1A, FOXO3, and MEF2A contribute to the apoptosis of HepG2 hepatocellular carcinoma cells. FOXO3 transcription factors regulate target genes involved in apoptosis. H cordata significantly increased the mRNA and protein expression of HIF-1A and FOXO3 and stimulated MEF2A expression in addition to increased apoptosis in HepG2 cells within 24 hours. Therefore, we determined the potential role of FOXO3 on apoptosis and on H cordata-induced MEF2A in HepG2 cells. HIF-1A silencing by siRNA attenuated MEF2A and H cordata-mediated FOXO3 upregulation in HepG2 cells. Furthermore, H cordata-mediated MEF2A expression enhanced caspase-3 and caspase-7, which were abolished on silencing FOXO3 with siRNA. In addition, H cordata inhibited growth of human hepatocellular carcinoma xenografts in nude mice. Taken together, our results demonstrate that H cordata enhances HIF-1A/FOXO3 signaling, leading to MEF2A upregulation in HepG2 cells, and in parallel, it disturbs the expression of Bcl-2 family proteins (Bax, Bcl-2, and Bcl-xL), which results in apoptosis. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that H cordata promotes the activation of HIF-1A-FOXO3 and MEF2A pathways to induce apoptosis in human HepG2 hepatocellular carcinoma cells and is, therefore, a promising candidate for antitumor drug development.
- Houttuynia cordata
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Complementary and alternative medicine