Integrated analysis of potential pathways by which aloe-emodin induces the apoptosis of colon cancer cells

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Background: Colon cancer is a malignant gastrointestinal tumour with high incidence, mortality and metastasis rates worldwide. Aloe-emodin is a monomer compound derived from hydroxyanthraquinone. Aloe-emodin produces a wide range of antitumour effects and is produced by rhubarb, aloe and other herbs. However, the mechanism by which aloe-emodin influences colon cancer is still unclear. We hope these findings will lead to the development of a new therapeutic strategy for the treatment of colon cancer in the clinic. Methods: We identified the overlapping targets of aloe-emodin and colon cancer and performed protein–protein interaction (PPI), Gene Ontology (GO), and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway analyses. In addition, we selected apoptosis pathways for experimental verification with cell viability, cell proliferation, caspase-3 activity, DAPI staining, cell cycle and western blotting analyses to evaluate the apoptotic effect of aloe-emodin on colon cancer cells. Results: The MTT assay and cell colony formation assay showed that aloe-emodin inhibited cell proliferation. DAPI staining confirmed that aloe-emodin induced apoptosis. Aloe-emodin upregulated the protein level of Bax and decreased the expression of Bcl-2, which activates caspase-3 and caspase-9. Furthermore, the protein expression level of cytochrome C increased in a time-dependent manner in the cytoplasm but decreased in a time-dependent manner in the mitochondria. Conclusion: These results indicate that aloe-emodin may induce the apoptosis of human colon cancer cells through mitochondria-related pathways.




Jiang, D., Ding, S., Mao, Z., You, L., & Ruan, Y. (2021). Integrated analysis of potential pathways by which aloe-emodin induces the apoptosis of colon cancer cells. Cancer Cell International, 21(1).

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