Medical oncology (Northwood, London, England)

Effect of baicalin-copper on the induction of apoptosis in human hepatoblastoma cancer HepG2 cells.

PMID 25694047


The medical properties of baicalin have been well known for many years. However, the discovery that baicalin in the presence of metal ions is more effective than baicalin alone changed the course of drug research. The present study was designed to investigate the effect and possible mechanism of apoptosis induced by baicalin-copper in a human hepatoblastoma cancer cell line (HepG2) and in vivo. This study demonstrated that baicalin-copper suppresses the proliferation of HepG2 cells in a dose-dependent manner. Intraperitoneal injection of baicalin-copper resulted in a significant decrease in tumor growth in xenografts in nude mice. Acridine orange staining and flow cytometry analysis demonstrated that baicalin-copper induced apoptosis in HepG2 cells and caused cells to arrest in G2-M phase of the cell cycle. Furthermore, baicalin-copper treatment significantly increased the Bax/Bcl-2 ratio and p38 levels, as well as decreased the expression of caspase-3, p-PI3K, p-Akt and p-mTOR (P < 0.01). All of the evidences above indicate that baicalin-copper induces apoptosis in HepG2 cells by down-regulating the PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling pathway.