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Int J Clin Exp Pathol 2013;6(2):281-289

Original Article
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) induces apoptosis in
human hepatocellular carcinoma cells

Si-Nan Sun, Wei-Dong Jia, Hao Chen, Jin-Liang Ma, Yong-Sheng Ge, Ji-Hai Yu, Jian-Sheng Li

Department of General Surgery, Anhui Province Key Laboratory of Hepatopancreatobiliary Surgery, Anhui Provincial
Hospital Affiliated with Anhui Medical University, No. 17 Lujiang Road, Hefei 230001, Anhui Province, China

Received November 8, 2012; Accepted December 3, 2012; Epub January 15, 2013; Published February 1, 2013

Abstract: The docosahexaenoic (DHA), a ω-3 fatty acid, could play a beneficial inhibition of the incidence and progress
of a series of human diseases including cancer. It has been report that DHA is involved in cell apoptosis.
Recent studies show that the signal transduction pathway links with bcl-2, bax, caspase-3 and MMP-9 molecules.
Therefore, we tested the relationship between DHA and cell apoptosis in human hepatocellular carcinoma cells
(Bel-7402 cells). We show here that DHA induces Bel-7402 cells apoptosis after pre-treating cells with DHA. DHA
down-regulates the protein expression of Bcl-2 and Bim mRNA level, and up-regulates caspase-3 activity and Bax
expression level. We also found that DHA inhibits Bel-7402 cells migration. Basic on our studies, DHA may play a
role in tumor invasion and survival. (IJCEP1211008).

Keywords: Docosahexaenoic (DHA), Bcl-2, caspase-3, MMP-9

Address all correspondence to:
Dr. Jiansheng Li,
Department of General Surgery
Anhui Province Key Laboratory of Hepatopancreatobiliary Surgery
Anhui Provincial Hospital Affiliated with Anhui Medical University
No. 17 Lujiang Road
Hefei 230001, Anhui Province, China.
Phone: 0086-0551-2283553
E-mail: lijiansheng1953@gmail.com