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To explore the mechanism by which ginsenoside 20(S)-Rg3 upregulates the expression of tumor suppressor von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) gene in ovarian cancer cells. Ovarian cancer cell line SKOV3 treated with 20(S)-Rg3 were examined for mRNA and protein levels of VHL, DNMT1, DNMT3A and DNMT3B by real-time PCR and Western blotting, respectively. The changes in VHL mRNA expression in SKOV3 cells in response to treatment with 5-Aza-CdR, a DNA methyltransferase inhibitor, were detected using real-time PCR. VHL gene promoter methylation was examined with methylation-specific PCR and VHL expression levels were determined with real-time PCR and Western blotting in non-treated or 20(S)-Rg3-treated SKOV3 cells and in 20(S)-Rg3-treated DNMT3A-overexpressing SKOV3 cells. VHL and DNMT3A protein levels were detected by immunohistochemistry in subcutaneous SKOV3 cell xenografts in nude mice. Treatment of SKOV3 cells with 20(S)-Rg3 significantly upregulated VHL and downregulated DNMT3A expressions at both the mRNA and protein levels (P < 0.05) and upregulated DNMT3B expression only at the mRNA level, but did not cause significant changes in either the mRNA or protein level of DNMT1. Treatment of the cells with 2 and 5 ╬╝mol/L 5-Aza-CdR obviously increased VHL mRNA expression by by over 3 folds (P < 0.05). 20(S)-Rg3 significantly decreased the methylation level in the promoter region of VHL gene, and this effect was abrogated by DNMT3A overexpression in the cells (P < 0.05). Immunohistochemisty showed a significantly increased VHL expression but a lowered DNMT3A expression in subcutaneous SKOV3 cell xenografts in 20 (S)-Rg3-treated nude mice. Ginsenoside 20(S)-Rg3 upregulates VHL expression in ovarian cancer cells by suppressing DNMT3A-mediated DNA methylation.


Lijie Wang, Xi Han, Xia Zheng, Yuanyuan Zhou, Huilian Hou, Wei Chen, Xu Li, Le Zhao. Ginsenoside 20(S)-Rg3 upregulates tumor suppressor VHL gene expression by suppressing DNMT3A-mediated promoter methylation in ovarian cancer cells]. Nan fang yi ke da xue xue bao = Journal of Southern Medical University. 2021 Jan 30;41(1):100-106

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PMID: 33509760

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