Acacia catechu seed extract provokes cytotoxicity via apoptosis by intrinsic pathway in HepG2 cells

Lakshmi Thangavelu, Royapuram Veeraragavan Geetha, Ezhilarasan Devaraj, Kamal Dua, Dinesh Kumar Chellappan, Sri Renukadevi Balusamy

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4 Scopus citations


Acacia catechu Willd (Fabaceae) is a thorny tree widely distributed in India and commonly used as traditional Ayurvedic medicine for various ailments. The current study evaluates the cytotoxic potentials of A. catechu ethanolic seed extract (ACSE) in HepG2 cells, a human hepatocellular carcinoma cell line. The HepG2 cells were treated with 0.1, 0.3, 1, 3, 10, 30, 100, 300 and 1000 μg/ml of ACSE and the cytotoxic effect was evaluated by MTT and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) leakage assays. The IC50 of ACSE was found at 77.04 μg/ml and therefore, further studies were carried out with the concentrations of 35 and 70 μg/ml. The intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and apoptosis-related morphological changes were evaluated. Gene expressions of Bax, Bcl-2, cytochrome C (Cyt-c), caspases-9 and 3 were analyzed by qPCR. The ACSE treatments caused LDH leakage was associated with an increased ROS generation. The increased ROS generation was associated with the downregulation of intracellular antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase and reduced glutathione content. AO/EB and PI staining also confirmed chromatin condensation and apoptosis. The flow cytometric analysis showed an accumulation of HepG2 cells at sub G0/G1 (apoptotic) phase upon ACSE treatments. The ACSE induced cytotoxicity and oxidative stress were related to increased apoptotic marker gene expressions such as Bax, Cyt-c, caspase-9 and 3, and decreased anti-apoptotic marker Bcl-2. The current finding suggests that ACSE has apoptosis-inducing potential via the mitochondrial pathway in HepG2 cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)446-456
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022


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