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BioMed Research International
Volume 2016, Article ID 7529521, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/7529521
Research Article

In Vitro Protective Effects of Lycium barbarum Berries Cultivated in Umbria (Italy) on Human Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells

1Department of Pharmaceutical Science, University of Perugia, Via Fabretti 48, 06122 Perugia, Italy
2Department of Chemistry, Biology and Biotechnology, University of Perugia, Via Elce di Sotto 8, 06123 Perugia, Italy

Received 30 June 2016; Revised 12 October 2016; Accepted 16 October 2016

Academic Editor: Davor Zeljezic

Copyright © 2016 M. R. Ceccarini 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.

Abstract

Lycium barbarum is a famous plant in the traditional Chinese medicine. The plant is known to have health-promoting bioactive components. The properties of Lycium barbarum berries cultivated in Umbria (Italy) and their effect on human hepatocellular carcinoma cells (HepG2) have been investigated in this work. The obtained results demonstrated that the Lycium barbarum berries from Umbria region display high antioxidant properties evaluated by total phenolic content and ORAC method, on hydrophilic and lipophilic fractions. Moreover, on HepG2 cell line Lycium barbarum berries extract did not change cell viability analyzed by MTT and Trypan blue exclusion assay and did not induce genotoxic effect analyzed by comet assay. Furthermore, it was demonstrated, for the first time, that the berries extract showed a protective effect on DNA damage, expressed as antigenotoxic activity in vitro. Finally, Lycium barbarum berries extract was able to modulate the expression of genes involved in oxidative stress, proliferation, apoptosis, and cancer. In particular, downexpression of genes involved in tumor migration and invasion (CCL5), in increased risk of metastasis and antiapoptotic signal (DUSP1), and in carcinogenesis (GPx-3 and PTGS1), together with overexpression of tumor suppressor gene (MT3), suggested that Umbrian Lycium barbarum berries could play a protective role against hepatocellular carcinoma.