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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2017, Article ID 7218562, 14 pages
Research Article

Potential Antitumor Activity and Apoptosis Induction of Glossostemon bruguieri Root Extract against Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells

1Botany and Microbiology Department, Science College, King Saud University, P.O. Box 2455, Riyadh 11451, Saudi Arabia
2Molecular Biology Unit, Zoology Department, Faculty of Science, Alexandria University, P.O. Box 21511, Alexandria, Egypt
3Botany and Microbiology Department, Faculty of Science, Alexandria University, P.O. Box 21511, Alexandria, Egypt
4Biochemistry Department, Faculty of Science, Alexandria University, P.O. Box 21511, Alexandria, Egypt
5Oncology Department, Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC 20057, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Ahmed S. Sultan; ge.ude.uxela@natlusa_rd

Received 19 June 2016; Revised 12 September 2016; Accepted 12 January 2017; Published 22 March 2017

Academic Editor: Cheorl-Ho Kim

Copyright © 2017 Mona S. Alwhibi 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.


Glossostemon bruguieri (moghat) is used as a nutritive and demulcent drink. This study was performed to investigate the antiproliferative effects of moghat root extract (MRE) and its apoptotic mechanism in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells, HepG2 and Hep3B. MTT assay, morphological changes, apoptosis enzyme linked immunosorbent assay, caspase and apoptotic activation, flow cytometry, and immunoblot analysis were employed. The IC50 of MRE for HepG2 (μg/ml) and for Hep3B (μg/ml) induced significant growth-inhibitory effects against HCC cells, with no cytotoxic effect on normal hepatocytes. MRE treatment induced apoptotic effects to HepG2 cells in a caspase-dependent manner and via upregulating p53/p21 and PCNA. The upregulation of p21 was controlled by p53 expression in HepG2 but not in Hep3B despite upregulation of Bax protein in both cell lines. Interestingly, p21 may be a remarkable switch to G1 arrest in HepG2 cells, but not in Hep3B cells. In addition, Fas- and mitochondria-mediated pathways were found to be involved in MRE-induced apoptosis in Hep3B cells. The GC-MS analysis of MRE revealed two major constituents of pharmaceutical importance: the flavonoid apigenin (17.04%) and the terpenoid squalene (11.32%). The data presented in this paper introduces G. bruguieri as a promising nontoxic herb with therapeutic potential for HCC. To the authors’ knowledge, the present study provides the first report on the anticancer activity of MRE on HCC cells.