Fuzheng Qingjie (FZQJ) granules, a compound Chinese medicine, have been used as an adjuvant therapy for alimentary tract cancers. However, the underlying anticancer mechanisms are still not well understood. In the present study, HepG2 cells were treated with FZQJ-containing serum. Cell proliferation was evaluated using MTT assay. Apoptosis was analyzed using a flow cytometer. Cell ultrastructure was observed under a transmission electron microscope. The mitochondrial membrane potential (Δψ) was examined with JC-1 dye. In H22 tumor-bearing mice, CD4(+) T cells, CD8(+) T cells, CD3(+) T cells, and natural killer (NK) cells in peripheral blood were evaluated cytometrically. Interleukin (IL)-2 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α levels were measured using radioimmunoassay.The mRNA levels of Bax and Bcl-2 were examined by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. The protein levels of Bax, Bcl-2, cytochrome C, caspase 3 and 9, PARP, and CD69 were examined by Western blotting. The apoptotic cells in tissues were observed using TUNEL method. Alanine transaminase (ALT), aspartate transaminase (AST), blood urea nitrogen (BUN), and creatinine (CRE) were detected by an automatic biochemical analyzer. The results showed that FZQJ-containing serum remarkably inhibited proliferation of HepG2 cells in dose- and time-dependent manners, induced HepG2 cell apoptosis and caused a decrease of Δψ. Analysis of tumor tissue showed that FZQJ-induced apoptosis was accompanied by downregulation of Bcl-2 and upregulation of Bax, release of cytochrome c, activation of caspase 3 and 9, and cleavage of PARP. In addition, FZQJ increased the percentages of CD4(+) T and NK cells, the ratio of CD4(+)/CD8(+) T cells as well as the levels of serum TNF-α. FZQJ also increased CD69 expression in tumor tissue. No hepatorenal toxicity was observed in H22 tumor-bearing mice. These results indicated that FZQJ could inhibit the growth of hepatoma cells via regulating immune function and inducing mitochondria mediated apoptosis.
Fuzheng Qingjie Granules Inhibit Growth of Hepatoma Cells via Inducing Mitochondria-Mediated Apoptosis and Enhancing Immune Function.