Tumor Biology

, Volume 36, Issue 6, pp 4825–4831 | Cite as

A polysaccharide from Glycyrrhiza inflata Licorice inhibits proliferation of human oral cancer cells by inducing apoptosis via mitochondrial pathway

Research Article


In the present study, we isolated and characterized a water-soluble polysaccharide (GIP1) from the roots of Glycyrrhiza inflata. The goal of this study was to investigate the anti-tumor effect of GIP1 on the human oral cancer SCC-25 cell line and to explore the possible mechanism. Our experimental result showed that GIP1 (50, 100, and 200 μg/mL) specifically decreased cell viability of SCC-25 cells in a concentration-dependent manner via the induction of apoptosis. Furthermore, Western blot analysis showed that exposure of SCC-25 cells to GIP1 led to down-regulation of anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2 and up-regulation of pro-apoptotic protein Bax, thus causing a loss of mitochondrial membrane potential and the release of cytochrome c to the cytosol. Moreover, we observed activation of the initiator caspaes-9, and the effector caspases-3, but not caspase-8. Concomitantly, GIP1-induced apoptosis can be blocked by caspase-3- or caspase-9-specific inhibitor, but not caspase-8 inhibitor. As well, the cleaved poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase, as a caspae-3 substrate, occurred in SCC-25 cells following GIP1 treatment at three concentrations. Collectively, our results showed that the GIP1 induced apoptosis in SCC-25 cells involving a caspase-dependent mitochondrial signaling pathway.


Glycyrrhiza inflata Licorice Polysaccharide Human oral cancer SCC-25 cells Apoptosis 


Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of StomatologyThe General Hospital of the Second Artillery Corps of Chinese PLABeijingChina
  2. 2.Department of Plastic and Burn Surgery, Tangdu HospitalThe Fourth Military Medical UniversityXi’anChina
  3. 3.Department of DermatologyThe First Affiliated Hospital of the General Hospital of the People’s Liberation ArmyBeijingChina

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