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Objective: To discuss the effect of puerarin on human choriocarcinoma cells. Methods: Survival rates under puerarin monotherapy, fluorouracil (5-FU) monotherapy and puerarin in combination with 5-FU were detected by MTT assay. Apoptotic morphology was observed with Hoechst 33258 staining. Apoptosis rates were detected with flow cytometry. Expressions of AKT, mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR), and P70S6K mRNAs and phosphorylated proteins were detected by RT-PCR and Western blot. Tumor-bearing mice were administered puerarin and puerarin+5-FU, and serum levels of β-human chorionic gonadotropin (β-HCG) were measured. Results: Proliferation inhibition and apoptosis rates of JEG-3 cells were positively correlated with puerarin concentration, which increased in the puerarin+5-FU group. Expression levels of AKT, mTOR, P70S6K mRNAs, and phosphorylated proteins decreased significantly after action of puerarin at different concentrations. With increasing puerarin concentration, expression of cleaved-caspase-3 in JEG-3 cells increased, whereas that of Bcl-2 decreased. Puerarin significantly inhibited tumor growth in choriocarcinoma-bearing SCID mice. Serum β-HCG levels were significantly lower than those of control group after administration. Magnitude of β-HCG decline was positively correlated with concentration. Conclusion: Puerarin+5-FU inhibited proliferation of JEG-3 choriocarcinoma cells and promoted their apoptosis, being associated with the mTOR signaling pathway.
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