Cell Biology and Toxicology

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 107–121 | Cite as

Selective suppression of cervical cancer Hela cells by 2-O-β-d-glucopyranosyl-l-ascorbic acid isolated from the fruit of Lycium barbarum L.

  • Zhiping Zhang
  • Xiaoming Liu
  • Tao Wu
  • Junhong Liu
  • Xu Zhang
  • Xueyun Yang
  • Michael J. Goodheart
  • John F. Engelhardt
  • Yujiong Wang


Lycium barbarum fruit has been used as a Chinese traditional medicine and dietary supplement for centuries. 2-O-β-d-Glucopyranosyl-l-ascorbic acid (AA-2βG), a novel stable vitamin C analog, is one of the main biologically active components of the fruit. In this report, we investigated the cytotoxic and antiproliferative effect of AA-2βG against cancer cells in vitro and identified the proteins with significantly differential expression in the cervical cancer cells (Hela) cultured in the presence of AA-2βG proteomic analysis. Our results demonstrated that the cytotoxic and antiproliferative activity of AA-2βG on cancer cell lines were in a cell type-, time-, and dose-dependent manner. Similar to vitamin C, the AA-2βG selectively induced cell death repressed the proliferation of Hela cells by the mechanism of cell apoptosis and cell cycle arrest induced by AA-2βG through a mechanism of stabilizing p53 protein. However, the biological activity of inhibition of cell proliferation in other malignant cancer cell lines or primary cells were varied, as demonstrated by either moderate inhibition or slight promotion following treatment with AA-2βG. Comparative analysis of the proteomic profiles and immunoblot analysis identified 15 proteins associated with repressing cell apoptosis and/or stimulating cell proliferation in Hela cells that were downregulated in the presence of AA-2βG or vitamin C. These data indicate that a mechanism of the AA-2βG and vitamin C mediated antitumor activity by downregulating the expression of proteins involved in cell apoptosis and proliferation and consequently inducing Hela cell apoptosis and cell cycle arrest, suggesting that AA-2βG and vitamin C may share a similar mechanism of inducing Hela cell apoptosis. These results also suggest that the L. barbarum fruit may be a potential dietary supplement and anticancer agent aimed at the prevention and treatment of cervical cancer.


2-O-β-d-Glucopyranosyl-l-ascorbic acid Apoptosis Lycium barbarum fruit Hela cell Proteomics 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (20762007) and the Scientific and Technological Research Programs for International Cooperation of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhiping Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xiaoming Liu
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  • Tao Wu
    • 1
    • 3
  • Junhong Liu
    • 1
  • Xu Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xueyun Yang
    • 1
  • Michael J. Goodheart
    • 5
  • John F. Engelhardt
    • 4
  • Yujiong Wang
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.College of Life ScienceNingxia UniversityYinchuanChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Chinese Ministry of Education for Conservation and Utilization of Special Biological Resources in the WesternNingxia UniversityYinchuanChina
  3. 3.Clinic Laboratory, the First Hospital of Ningxia Hui Autonomous RegionYinchuanChina
  4. 4.Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology, Carver College of MedicineThe University of IowaIowa CityUSA
  5. 5.Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Carver College of MedicineThe University of IowaIowa CityUSA

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