Berbamine induces SMMC-7721 cell apoptosis via upregulating p53, downregulating survivin expression and activating mitochondria signaling pathway
- Ying Cao
- Jianbo Cao
- Binbin Yu
- Shusheng Wang
- Lili Liu
- Li Tao
- Wanping Sun
Published online on: December 15, 2017
Copyright: © Cao et al.
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution License.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a primary malignancy in the liver, which is a global health problem. The present study aimed to observe the apoptotic effects of berbamine on SMMC‑7721 cell lines and to investigate the effects of berbamine on induction of the intrinsic apoptotic pathway. The human HCC SMMC‑7721 cells were cultured and cell morphology observed using a phase contrast microscope. SMMC‑7721 cell apoptosis was examined by employing a flow cytometry assay. The nuclei of SMMC‑7721 cells were stained with DAPI and observed by utilizing a laser fluorescence microscope. Cytochrome c (Cyto c) levels were evaluated by using immunofluorescence staining. The reverse transcription‑semi‑quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT‑sqPCR) and western blot analysis were used to examine the mRNA and protein levels of B‑cell lymphoma 2, (Bcl‑2), Bax, Bcl‑2-associated X, apoptosis regulator, p53 and survivin, respectively. Berbamine inhibited SMMC‑7721 cell growth at 20 and 0 µmol/l, compared with control group (0 µmol/l berbamine). DAPI results demonstrated that berbamine affected the nucleus morphology of SMMC‑7721 cells. Berbamine at a concentration of 20 µmol/l (P<0.05) and 40 µmol/l (P<0.01) significantly enhanced apoptosis rate compared with control group. Berbamine triggered Cyto c release from SMMC‑7721 cell nuclei to the cytoplasm. Berbamine (10, 20, 40 µmol/l) significantly enhanced Bax and p53 levels and decreased Bcl‑2 and survivin levels compared with control group, according to RT‑sqPCR and western blot assay findings. In conclusion, berbamine induced SMMC‑7721 cell apoptosis, through upregulating p53 expression and downregulating survivin expression, which further triggered mitochondria signaling pathway-mediated apoptosis.