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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014, Article ID 978525, 8 pages
Research Article

Antihepatoma Activity of Artocarpus communis Is Higher in Fractions with High Artocarpin Content

1Graduate Institute of Natural Products, College of Pharmacy, Kaohsiung Medical University, No. 100 Shih-Chuan 1st Road, Kaohsiung 80708, Taiwan
2Department of Fragrance and Cosmetic Science, College of Pharmacy, Kaohsiung Medical University, No. 100 Shih-Chuan 1st Road, Kaohsiung 80708, Taiwan
3Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Sun Yat-Sen University, No. 70 Lienhai Road, Kaohsiung 80424, Taiwan
4Department of Microbiology and Immunology, School of Medicine, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, No. 250 Wu-Hsing Street, Taipei 11031, Taiwan
5Department of Nursing, Division of Basic Medical Sciences, and Chronic Diseases and Health Promotion Research Center, Chang Gung Institute of Technology, No. 2 Chia-pu Road, West Section, Chiayi 61363, Taiwan
6Research Center for Industry of Human Ecology, Chang Gung University of Science and Technology, No. 261 Wen-Hwa 1st Road, Taoyuan 33303, Taiwan
7School of Pharmacy, College of Pharmacy, Kaohsiung Medical University, No. 100 Shih-Chuan 1st Road, Kaohsiung 80708, Taiwan
8Department of Medical Imaging, Chi Mei Medical Center, No. 901 Zhonghua Road, Tainan 71004, Taiwan
9Department of Medical Imaging and Radiological Science, College of Health Sciences, Central Taiwan University of Science and Technology, No. 666 Buzih Road, Taichung 40601, Taiwan

Received 7 March 2014; Accepted 19 June 2014; Published 14 July 2014

Academic Editor: Anica Dricu

Copyright © 2014 Cheng-Wei Tzeng 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.


Extracts from natural plants have been used in traditional medicine for many centuries worldwide. Artocarpus communis is one such plant that has been used to treat liver cirrhosis, hypertension, and diabetes. To our knowledge, this study is the first to investigate the antihepatoma activity of A. communis toward HepG2 and PLC/PRF/5 cells and the first to explore the relationship between antihepatoma activity and the active compound artocarpin content in different fractions of A. communis. A. communis methanol extract and fractions induced dose-dependent reduction of tumor cell viability. DNA laddering analysis revealed that A. communis extract and fractions did not induce apoptosis in HepG2 and PLC/PRF/5 cells. Instead, acridine orange staining revealed that A. communis triggered autophagic cell death in a dose-dependent manner. The antihepatoma activity of A. communis is attributable to artocarpin. The fractions with the highest artocarpin content were also the fractions with the highest antihepatoma activity in the following order: dichloromethane fraction > methanol extract > ethyl acetate fraction > n-butanol fraction > n-hexane fraction. Taken together, A. communis showed antihepatoma activity through autophagic cell death. The effect was related to artocarpin content. Artocarpin could be considered an indicator of the anticancer potential of A. communis extract.