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Growth Inhibition and Cell-Cycle Arrest of Human Gastric Cancer Cells by Lycium Barbarum Polysaccharide

Goji berries (Lycium barbarum, wolfberry) grow on an evergreen shrub found in temperate and subtropical regions in China, Mongolia and in the Himalayas in Tibet. They are in the nightshade (Solonaceae) family. Goji berries are usually found dried. They are shriveled red berries that look like red raisins. Goji berries are rich in antioxidants, particularly carotenoids such as Beta-carotene and zeaxanthin. One of zeaxanthin's key roles is to protect the retina of the eye by absorbing blue light and acting as an antioxidant. Goji berries have been used for 6,000 years by herbalists in China, Tibet and India to: protect the liver, help eyesight, improve sexual function and fertility, strengthen the legs, boost immune function, improve circulation, and to promote longevity.

Miao Y, Xiao B, Jiang Z, Guo Y, Mao F, Zhao J, Huang X, Guo J. Growth inhibition and cell-cycle arrest of human gastric cancer cells by Lycium barbarum polysaccharide. 1. Med Oncol. 2010 Sep;27(3):785-90. Epub 2009 Aug 11.

Lycium barbarum polysaccharide (LBP) is extracted from the traditional Chinese herb Lycium barbarum, and has potential anticancer activity. However, the detailed mechanisms are largely unknown. The purpose of this study was to observe the anticancer effect of LBP on human gastric cancer, and its possible mechanisms. Human gastric cancer MGC-803 and SGC-7901 cells were treated with various concentrations of LBP for 1-5 days, and cell growth was measured by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide assay. Distribution of the cell cycle was analyzed by flow cytometry. Western blotting was used to indicate changes in the level of cyclins and cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs). LBP treatment inhibited growth of MGC-803 and SGC-7901 cells, with cell-cycle arrest at the G0/G1 and S phase, respectively. We believe that this is the first study to show that LBP arrested different cell lines from the same types of cancer at different phases. The changes in cell-cycle-associated protein, cyclins, and CDKs were consistent with the changes in cell-cycle distribution. This study suggests that induction of cell-cycle arrest participates in the anticancer activity of LBP on gastric cancer cells.