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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 391512, 7 pages
Research Article

Cytotoxic Effect of Icaritin and Its Mechanisms in Inducing Apoptosis in Human Burkitt Lymphoma Cell Line

1Division of Hematology, The First Affiliated Hospital, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, Gansu 730000, China
2Division of Nephrology, The First Affiliated Hospital, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, Gansu 730000, China
3Division of Hematology, The Second Xiang-Ya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan 410011, China

Received 16 February 2014; Revised 13 April 2014; Accepted 14 April 2014; Published 7 May 2014

Academic Editor: Kota V. Ramana

Copyright © 2014 Zi-Jian Li et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Icaritin (ICT), a hydrolytic product of icariin from Epimedium genus, exhibits antitumor activities in several human solid-tumor and myeloid leukemia cells with extensive influence on various cell signal molecules, such as MAPKs being involved in cell proliferation and Bcl-2 participating in cell apoptosis. However, the effect of icaritin on Burkitt Lymphoma has not been elucidated. In the present study, we first screened the potential effect of icaritin on Burkitt lymphoma Raji and P3HR-1 cell lines and found that icaritin showed cytotoxicity in both cell lines. We further found that icaritin could significantly inhibit Raji cells proliferation with S-phase arrest of cell cycle and induced cell apoptosis accompanied by activation of caspase-8 and caspase-9 and cleavage of PARP. We also observed that icaritin was able to decrease Bcl-2 levels, thus shifting the Bcl-2/Bax ratio, and it could obviously reduce c-Myc, a specific molecular target in Burkitt lymphoma. Our findings demonstrated that icaritin showed cytotoxicity, inhibited cell growth, caused S arrest, and induced apoptosis in Burkitt lymphoma cells and provided a rationale for the further evaluation of icaritin for Burkitt lymphoma therapy.