Astragaloside IV inhibits metastasis in hepatoma cells through the suppression of epithelial-mesenchymal transition via the Akt/GSK-3β/β-catenin pathway.
Oncol Rep. 2017 Mar ;37(3):1725-1735. Epub 2017 Jan 19. PMID: 28112375
Our previous studies demonstrated that traditional Chinese herbal medicine 'Songyou Yin' inhibited the growth and invasion of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells, and altered epithelial‑mesenchymal transition (EMT) markers in oxaliplatin‑treated HCC tissues and cell lines. In the present study, we aimed to explore whether astragaloside IV (AS-IV), a component of 'Songyou Yin', can affect the growth and invasion of HCC cells and the underlying mechanism involved. Human HCC celllines Huh7 and MHCC97-H, with low and high metastatic potential, respectively, were treated with increasing doses of AS-IV. The Cell Counting Kit-8 (CCK-8), plate clone formation, Transwell, wound healing and immunofluorescence assays were used to investigate the effects of AS-IV on HCC cell proliferation, migration and invasion. The protein expression levels were analyzed by western blotting and immunofluorescence assay. The CCK-8 and plate clone formation assays showed that AS-IV had little effect on the proliferation of HCC cells in vitro. However, the Transwell and wound healing assays demonstrated that AS-IV inhibited the migration and invasion of HCC cells in a dose-dependent manner and the morphology of HCC cells was altered from spindle into oval shaped in the AS-IV pretreated groups. The upregulation of E-cadherin and downregulation of N-cadherin, vimentin, α-SMA and Slug were also observed in the AS-IV pretreated groups. Additionally, AS-IV treatment resulted in a profound decrease in the phosphorylated forms of Akt and GSK-3β, which in turn inhibited the expression of β-catenin. Thus, we conclude that AS-IV attenuates the invasive and migratory abilities of HCC cells through the inhibition of EMT by targeting the Akt/GSK-3β/β-catenin pathway.