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BioMed Research International
Volume 2019, Article ID 3065818, 14 pages
Research Article

Anticancer Effects of Emodin on HepG2 Cell: Evidence from Bioinformatic Analysis

1The First Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, China
2Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, China
3Stomatological Hospital of Shandong University, Shandong, China
4Jinan Stomatological Hospital, Shandong, China
5Lingnan Medical Research Center of Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Ying Tang; moc.361@84744152881

Received 9 January 2019; Revised 31 March 2019; Accepted 23 April 2019; Published 19 May 2019

Academic Editor: Michael Linnebacher

Copyright © 2019 Rui-sheng Zhou 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.


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a primary cause of cancer-related death in the world. Despite the fact that there are many methods to treat HCC, the 5-year survival rate of HCC is still at a low level. Emodin can inhibit the growth of HCC cells in vitro and in vivo. However, the gene regulation of emodin in HCC has not been well studied. In our research, RNA sequencing technology was used to identify the differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in HepG2 cells induced by emodin. A total of 859 DEGs were identified, including 712 downregulated genes and 147 upregulated genes in HepG2 cells treated with emodin. We used DAVID for function and pathway enrichment analysis. The protein-protein interaction (PPI) network was constructed using STRING, and Cytoscape was used for module analysis. The enriched functions and pathways of the DEGs include positive regulation of apoptotic process, structural molecule activity and lipopolysaccharide binding, protein digestion and absorption, ECM-receptor interaction, complement and coagulation cascades, and MAPK signaling pathway. 25 hub genes were identified and pathway analysis revealed that these genes were mainly enriched in neuropeptide signaling pathway, inflammatory response, and positive regulation of cytosolic calcium ion concentration. Survival analysis showed that LPAR6, C5, SSTR5, GPR68, and P2RY4 may be involved in the molecular mechanisms of emodin therapy for HCC. A quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) assay showed that the mRNA levels of LPAR6, C5, SSTR5, GPR68, and P2RY4 were significantly decreased in HepG2 cells treated with emodin. In conclusion, the identified DEGs and hub genes in the present study provide new clues for further researches on the molecular mechanisms of emodin.