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β-carotene isolated from the marine red alga, Gracillaria sp. potently attenuates the growth of human hepatocellular carcinoma (HepG2) cells by modulating multiple molecular pathways

Kavalappa, Yogendra Prasad, Udayawara Rudresh, Deepika, Gopal, Sowmya Shree, Haranahalli Shivarudrappa, Arpitha, Stephen, Nimish Mol, Rangiah, Kannan, Ponesakki, Ganesan
Journal of functional foods 2019 v.52 pp. 165-176
Rhodophyta, Western blotting, antioxidants, apoptosis, beta-carotene, caspase-3, hepatoma, human cell lines, humans, membrane potential, mitochondrial membrane, protein synthesis, superoxide dismutase, transcription factor NF-kappa B, transcriptional activation, viability
There remains a remarkable controversy on the anti-cancer stand of β-carotene specifically when high concentrations are used. This study aimed to examine the growth inhibitory effect of the lower concentrations of β-carotene in HepG2 cells. Beta-carotene purified from Gracillaria sp. inhibited viability of HepG2 cells in a concentration-dependent manner. This growth inhibitory effect was well correlated with increased apoptotic cell death. Apoptosis induction by β-carotene was associated with increased caspase-3 activity and reduced mitochondrial membrane potential. Western blot analysis showed a significant decrease in the expression of Bcl-2, PARP, and NF-kB protein, and an increase in the protein expression of Bax. Beta-carotene also blocked the activation of intracellular growth signaling proteins, Akt and ERK1/2. Further, it down-regulated the expression of endogenous antioxidant enzymes, SOD-2 and HO-1, and its transactivation factor, Nrf-2. The current study emphasizes the role of β-carotene as an effective inhibitor of the growth of hepatocarcinoma cell.