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Chlorella vulgaris triggers apoptosis in hepatocarcinogenesis-induced rats


Chlorella vulgaris (CV) has been reported to have antioxidant and anticancer properties. We evaluated the effect of CV on apoptotic regulator protein expression in liver cancer-induced rats. Male Wistar rats (200∼250 g) were divided into eight groups: control group (normal diet), CDE group (choline deficient diet supplemented with ethionine in drinking water to induce hepatocarcinogenesis), CV groups with three different doses of CV (50, 150, and 300 mg/kg body weight), and CDE groups treated with different doses of CV (50, 150, and 300 mg/kg body weight). Rats were sacrificed at various weeks and liver tissues were embedded in paraffin blocks for immunohistochemistry studies. CV, at increasing doses, decreased the expression of anti-apoptotic protein, Bcl-2, but increased the expression of pro-apoptotic protein, caspase 8, in CDE rats, which was correlated with decreased hepatoctyes proliferation and increased apoptosis as determined by bromodeoxy-uridine (BrdU) labeling and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase mediated dUTP nick-end labeling (TUNEL) assay, respectively. Our study shows that CV has definite chemopreventive effect by inducing apoptosis via decreasing the expression of Bcl-2 and increasing the expression of caspase 8 in hepatocarcinogenesis-induced rats.

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Correspondence to Yasmin Anum Mohd Yusof.

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Project supported by Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, UKM Medical Center, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, and the Malaysian Ministry of Science and Technological Innovation (MOSTI)

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Mohd Azamai, E.S., Sulaiman, S., Mohd Habib, S.H. et al. Chlorella vulgaris triggers apoptosis in hepatocarcinogenesis-induced rats. J. Zhejiang Univ. Sci. B 10, 14–21 (2009).

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Key words

  • Chlorella vulgaris (CV)
  • Apoptosis
  • Bcl-2
  • Caspase 8
  • Liver cancer

CLC number

  • R73