Silibinin stimluates apoptosis by inducing generation of ROS and ER stress in human choriocarcinoma cells

Jiyeon Ham, Whasun Lim, Fuller W. Bazer, Gwonhwa Song

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Silibinin is a flavonolignan extracted from seeds of milk thistles. Traditionally, it has been used as a therapeutic agent for liver disorders, and now it is well-known for its anti-cancer effects. However, studies on anti-cancer effects of silibinin on choriocarcinoma are very limited. Therefore, we performed proliferation and apoptosis assays to determine effects of silibinin on the viability of human choriocarcinoma (JAR and JEG3) cells. Our results showed that silibinin significantly inhibited proliferation and induced apoptosis in both JAR and JEG3 cells, and significantly increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) and lipid peroxidation. Moreover, silibinin disrupted mitochondrial function by inducing permeabilization of mitochondrial membrane potential and calcium ion efflux in JAR and JEG3 cells. Furthermore, silibinin-induced apoptosis in choriocarcinoma cells via AKT, mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK) and unfolded protein response (UPR) signal transduction. Collectively, our results suggest that silibinin is a novel therapeutic agent or dietary supplement for management of human placental choriocarcinomas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1638-1649
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Feb


  • ER stress
  • ROS
  • apoptosis
  • choriocarcinoma
  • silibinin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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