Arctigenin suppresses cell proliferation via autophagy inhibition in hepatocellular carcinoma cells.
J Nat Med. 2020 Mar 23. Epub 2020 Mar 23. PMID: 32207025
Autophagy is a catabolic process that degrades dysfunctional proteins and organelles and plays critical roles in cancer development. Our preliminary screening identified that extracts of the fruits of Arctium lappa and the fruits of Forsythia suspensa notably suppressed the proliferation of hepatocellular carcinoma HepG2 cells and downregulated the autophagy. In this study, we explored the effect of arctigenin (ARG), a bioactive lignan in both extracts, on cell proliferation and autophagy-related proteins in HepG2 cells. ARG inhibited the proliferation of HepG2 cells. Analysis of autophagy-related proteins demonstrated that ARG might block the autophagy that leads to sequestosome 1/p62 (p62) accumulation. The stage of inhibition in autophagy by ARG differed from those by the autophagy inhibitors 3-methyladenine (3-MA) or chloroquine (CQ). ARG could also inhibit starvation-induced autophagy. Further analysis of apoptosis-related proteins indicated that ARG did not affect caspase-3 activation and PARP cleavage, suggesting that the antiproliferative effect of ARG can occur independently of apoptosis. In summary, our study showed that ARG suppresses cell proliferation and inhibits autophagy, and might lead to the development of agents for autophagy research and cancer chemoprevention.