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Anti-cancer properties of Salvia miltiorrhiza roots


Researchers from China, Hong Kong and the U.S. investigated the molecular mechanisms underlying the effects of Salvia miltiorrhiza (red sage) on human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). They reported their findings in an article published in the journal Chinese Medicine.

  • The roots of S. miltiorrhiza (RSM) is a well-known traditional Chinese medicine that can inhibit the development of cancer tumors.
  • However, its anti-cancer effects, especially on HCC, remain to be fully elucidated.
  • Using two HCC cell lines (MHCC97-H and HepG2) and nude mice, the researchers validated the therapeutic effects of RSM in vitro and in vivo.
  • They also used network pharmacology, which combines bioinformatics with modern genomics, proteomics and metabolomics, to explore RSM’s mechanisms of action.
  • The researchers identified 62 active compounds and 72 HCC-related targets through network pharmacological analysis.
  • They found that RSM affects HCC development by influencing multiple targets and pathways, especially the EGFR and PI3K/AKT signaling pathways.
  • The researchers also reported that RSM suppressed cell proliferation and impaired cell migration and invasion in vitro.
  • Flow cytometry analysis revealed that RSM induces cell cycle arrest at the G2/M phase, as well as apoptosis.
  • Meanwhile, western blot results showed that RSM up-regulates the expression of Bax and down-regulates the expression of Bcl-2 in MHCC97-H and HepG2 cells.
  • Additionally, RSM down-regulated the expression of EGFR, PI3K and p-AKT proteins but not AKT.
  • In vivo, RSM inhibited the growth of liver tumors following orthotopic transplantation of MHCC97-L cells.

Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that S. miltiorrhiza can stop the growth of liver cancer by triggering cancer cell apoptosis.

Read the full study at this link.

Journal Reference:

Luo Y, Feng Y, Song L, He GQ, Li S, Bai SS, Huang YJ, Li SY, Almutairi MM, Shi HL, et al. A NETWORK PHARMACOLOGY-BASED STUDY ON THE ANTI-HEPATOMA EFFECT OF RADIX SALVIAE MILTIORRHIZAE. Chinese Medicine. 06 August 2019;14(1). DOI: 10.1186/s13020-019-0249-6



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