Gypenosides induce apoptosis in human hepatoma Huh-7 cells through a calcium/reactive oxygen species-dependent mitochondrial pathway

Qwa Fun Wang, Chi Wu Chiang, Chun Chi Wu, Chi Chih Cheng, Shur Jong Hsieh, Jung Chou Chen, Yun Chih Hsieh, Shih Lan Hsu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


We have previously reported that gypenosides induce apoptosis in human hepatocarcinoma Huh-7 cells through a mitochondria-dependent caspase-9 activation cascade. In order to further explore the critical events leading to apoptosis in gypenosides-treated cells, the following effects of gypenosides on components of the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway were examined: generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), alteration of the mitochondrial membrane potential (MPT), and the subcellular distribution of Bcl-2 and Bax. We show that gypenosides-induced apoptosis was accompanied by the generation of intracellular ROS, disruption of MPT, and inactivation of ERK, as well as an increase in mitochondrial Bax and a decrease of mitochondrial Bcl-2 levels. Ectopic expression of Bcl-2 or treatment with furosemide attenuated gypenosides-triggered apoptosis. Treatment with ATA caused a drastic prevention of apoptosis and the gypenosides-mediated mitochondrial Bcl-2 decrease and Bax increase, but failed to inhibit ROS generation and MPT dysfunction. Incubation with antioxidants significantly inhibited gypenosides-mediated ROS generation, ERK inactivation, MPT and apoptosis. Moreover, an increase of the intracellular calcium ion (Ca2+) concentration rapidly occurred in gypenosides-treated Huh-7 cells. Buffering of the intracellular Ca2+increase with a Ca2+chelator BAMTA/AM blocked the gypenosides-elicited ERK inactivation, ROS generation, Bcl-2/Bax redistribution, mitochondrial dysfunction, and apoptosis. Based on these results, we propose that the rise in intracellular Ca2+concentration plays a pivotal role in the initiation of gypenosides-triggered apoptotic death.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-544
Number of pages10
JournalPlanta Medica
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Jan 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Organic Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Gypenosides induce apoptosis in human hepatoma Huh-7 cells through a calcium/reactive oxygen species-dependent mitochondrial pathway'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this