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1.  Ethanol Extract of Dianthus chinensis L. Induces Apoptosis in Human Hepatocellular Carcinoma HepG2 Cells In Vitro 
Dianthus chinensis L. is used to treat various diseases including cancer; however, the molecular mechanism by which the ethanol extract of Dianthus chinensis L. (EDCL) induces apoptosis is unknown. In this study, the apoptotic effects of EDCL were investigated in human HepG2 hepatocellular carcinoma cells. Treatment with EDCL significantly inhibited cell growth in a concentration- and time-dependent manner by inducing apoptosis. This induction was associated with chromatin condensation, activation of caspases, and cleavage of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase protein. However, apoptosis induced by EDCL was attenuated by caspase inhibitor, indicating an important role for caspases in EDCL responses. Furthermore, EDCL did not alter the expression of bax in HepG2 cells but did selectively downregulate the expression of bcl-2 and bcl-xl, resulting in an increase in the ratio of bax:bcl-2 and bax:bcl-xl. These results support a mechanism whereby EDCL induces apoptosis through the mitochondrial pathway and caspase activation in HepG2 cells.
doi:10.1155/2012/573527
PMCID: PMC3356935  PMID: 22645629
2.  An ethyl acetate fraction derived from Houttuynia cordata extract inhibits the production of inflammatory markers by suppressing NF-кB and MAPK activation in lipopolysaccharide-stimulated RAW 264.7 macrophages 
Background
Houttuynia cordata Thunb. (Saururaceae) has been used in traditional medicine for treatment of inflammatory diseases. This study evaluated the anti-inflammatory effects of an ethyl acetate fraction derived from a Houttuynia cordata extract (HCE-EA) on the production of inflammatory mediators and the activation of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) and mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated RAW 264.7 macrophages.
Methods
To measure the effects of HCE-EA on pro-inflammatory cytokine and inflammatory mediator’s expression in RAW 264.7 cells, we used the following methods: cell viability assay, Griess reagent assay, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, real-time polymerase chain reaction and western blotting analysis.
Results
HCE-EA downregulated nitric oxide (NO), prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), and interleukin (IL-6) production in the cells, as well as inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression. Furthermore, HCE-EA suppressed nuclear translocation of the NF-κB p65 subunit, which correlated with an inhibitory effect on IκBα (nuclear factor of kappa light polypeptide gene enhancer in B-cells inhibitor, alpha) phosphorylation. HCE-EA also attenuated the activation of MAPKs (p38 and JNK).
Conclusions
Our results suggest that the anti-inflammatory properties of HCE-EA may stem from the inhibition of pro-inflammatory mediators via suppression of NF-κB and MAPK signaling pathways.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-234
PMCID: PMC4099023  PMID: 25012519
Houttuynia cordata; Inducible nitric oxide synthase; Cyclooxygenase-2; Nuclear factor-κB; Mitogen-activated protein kinase

Results 1-2 (2)