Brassinin inhibits proliferation in human liver cancer cells via mitochondrial dysfunction

Taeyeon Hong, Jiyeon Ham, Jisoo Song, Gwonhwa Song, Whasun Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Brassinin is a phytochemical derived from Chinese cabbage, a cruciferous vegetable. Brassinin has shown anticancer effects on prostate and colon cancer cells, among others. However, its mechanisms and effects on hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) have not been elucidated yet. Our results confirmed that brassinin exerted antiproliferative effects by reducing proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) activity, a proliferation indicator and inducing cell cycle arrest in human HCC (Huh7 and Hep3B) cells. Brassinin also increased mitochondrial Ca2+ levels and depolarized the mitochondrial membrane in both Huh7 and Hep3B cells. Moreover, brassinin generated high amounts of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in both cell lines. The ROS scavenger N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) inhibited this brassinin-induced ROS production. Brassinin also regulated the AKT and mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK) signaling pathways in Huh7 and Hep3B cells. Further-more, co-administering brassinin and pharmacological inhibitors for JNK, ERK1/2 and P38 decreased cell proliferation in both HCC cell lines more than the pharmacological inhibitors alone. Collectively, our results demonstrated that brassinin exerts antiproliferative effects via mitochondrial dysfunction and MAPK pathway regulation on HCC cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article number332
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Feb


  • Apoptosis
  • Brassinin
  • Liver cancer
  • Mitochondria
  • ROS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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