Mechanisms underlying isoliquiritigenin-induced apoptosis and cell cycle arrest via ROS-mediated MAPK/STAT3/NF-κB pathways in human hepatocellular carcinoma cells.
Drug Dev Res. 2019 06 ;80(4):461-470. Epub 2019 Jan 30. PMID: 30698296
Isoliquiritigenin (ISL), a natural flavonoid isolated from plant licorice, has various pharmacological properties, including anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral effects. However, the underlying mechanisms and signaling pathways of ISL in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells remain unknown. In this study, we evaluated the effects of ISL on the apoptosis of human HCC cells with a focus on reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. Our results showed that ISL exhibited cytotoxic effects on two human liver cancer cells in a dose-dependent manner. ISL significantly induced mitochondrial-related apoptosis and cell cycle arrest at the G2/M phase, which was accompanied by ROS accumulation in HepG2 cells. However, pretreatment with an ROS scavenger, N-acetyl-l-cysteine (NAC), inhibited ISL-induced apoptosis. In addition, ISL increased the phosphorylation levels of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), p38 kinase and inhibitor of NF-κB (IκB), and decreased the phosphorylation levels of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3), nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB), these effects were blocked by NAC and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) inhibitors. Taken together,the findings of this study indicate that ISL induced HepG2 cell apoptosis via ROS-mediated MAPK, STAT3, and NF-κB signaling pathways. Therefore, ISL may be a potential treatment for human HCC, as well as other cancer types.