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Shen A.-L.,Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine | Hong F.,Zhangzhou Pien Tze Huang Pharmaceutical Co. | Liu L.-Y.,Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine | Lin J.-M.,Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine | And 4 more authors.
Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine | Year: 2012

Objective: To investigate the anti-angiogenic effects of Pien Tze Huang (PZH) in vivo and in vitro. Methods: Human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) were treated with 0 mg/mL, 0.25 mg/mL, 0.5 mg/mL, and 1 mg/mL of PZH for 24 h, 48 h and 72 h, respectively. Chicken embryo chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) model was used to evaluate in vivo angiogenesis. An ECMatrix gel system was used to evaluate in vitro angiogenesis by examining the tube formation of HUVECs. 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay was performed to determine HUVEC viability. Cell density of HUVECs was observed by phase-contrast microscopy. HUVEC migration was determined by wound healing method. The mRNA and protein expression of vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A) and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) in both HUVEC and human colon adenocarcinoma cells (HT-29) was examined by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and enzyme linked immune sorbent assay (ELISA), respectively. Results: PZH treatment significantly reduced the total number of blood vessels compared with the untreated control in the chicken embryos and resulted in a significant decrease in capillary tube formation and cell density of HUVECs (P<0.05). In addition, treatment with 0.25-1 mg/mL of PZH for 24 h, 48 h, and 72 h respectively reduced cell viability by 9%-52%, 24%-87% or 25%-87%, compared with the untreated control cells (P<0.05). Moreover, PZH treatment decreased the migration of HUVECs. Furthermore, PZH dose-dependently suppressed the expression of VEGF-A and bFGF on both mRNA and protein levels (P<0.05). Conclusion: PZH could inhibit angiogenesis in vivo in CAM model and in vitro on HUVECs, suggesting that inhibiting tumor angiogenesis might be one of the mechanisms by which PZH treats cancer. © 2012 The Chinese Journal of Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


Shen A.,Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine | Lin W.,Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine | Chen Y.,Case Western Reserve University | Liu L.,Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine | And 6 more authors.
International Journal of Oncology | Year: 2015

Tumor metastasis, a complex process involving the spread of malignant tumor cells from a primary tumor site to a distant organ, is a major cause of failure of cancer chemotherapy. Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a critical step for the initiation of cancer metastasis. The processes of EMT and metastasis are highly regulated by a doublenegative feedback loop consisting of TGF-β1/ZEB pathway and miR-200 family, which therefore has become a promising target for cancer chemotherapy. Pien Tze Huang (PZH), a well-known traditional Chinese formula first prescribed in the Ming Dynasty, has been demonstrated to be clinically effective in the treatment of various types of human malignancy including colorectal cancer (CRC). Our published data proposed that PZH was able to induce apoptosis, inhibit cell proliferation and tumor angiogenesis, leading to the suppression of CRC growth in vitro and in vivo. To further elucidate the mode of action of PZH, in the present study we evaluated its effects on the metastatic capacities of human colorectal carcinoma HCT-8 cells and investigated the underlying molecular mechanisms. We found that PZH significantly inhibited the migration and invasion of HCT-8 cells in a dose-dependent manner. In addition, PZH treatment inhibited the expression of key mediators of TGF-β1 signaling, such as TGF-β1, Smad2/3 and Smad4. Moreover, PZH treatment suppressed the expression of ZEB1 and ZEB2, two critical target genes of TGF-β1 pathway, leading to a decrease in the expression of mesenchymal marker N-cadherin and an increased expression of epithelial marker E-cadherin. Furthermore, PZH treatment upregulated the expression of miR-200a, miR-200b and miR-200c. Collectively, our findings in this study suggest that PZH can inhibit metastasis of colorectal cancer cells via modulating TGF-β1/ZEB/miR-200 signaling network, which might be one of the mechanisms whereby PZH exerts its anticancer function.


Shen A.,Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine | Lin J.,Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine | Chen Y.,Case Western Reserve University | Lin W.,Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine | And 5 more authors.
Oncology Reports | Year: 2013

Angiogenesis plays an essential role in cancer progression, which therefore has become an attractive target for anticancer treatment. Tumor angiogenesis is tightly regulated by multiple signaling pathways that usually function redundantly; in addition, crosstalk between these pathways forms a complicated network that is regulated by compensatory mechanisms. Given the complexity of pathogenic mechanisms underlying tumor angiogenesis, most currently used angiogenesis inhibitors that only target single pathways may be insufficient and probably generate drug resistance, thus, increasing the necessity for development of novel anticancer agents. Traditional Chinese medicines (TCM) are receiving great interest since they have relatively fewer side-effects and have been used for thousands of years to clinically treat various types of diseases including cancer. Pien Tze Huang (PZH), a well-known traditional Chinese formulation that was first prescribed 450 years ago, has long been used as an alternative remedy for cancers. However, the precise mechanism of PZH's anticancer activity remains to be further elucidated. Using a colorectal cancer mouse xenograft model, in the present study, we evaluated the effect of PZH on tumor angiogenesis and investigated the underlying molecular mechanisms. We found that PZH inhibited tumor growth since PZH treatment resulted in decrease in both tumor volume and tumor weight in CRC mice. In addition, PZH suppressed the activation of several signaling pathways such as STAT3, Akt and MAPKs. Consequently, the inhibitory effect of PZH on these pathways resulted in the inhibition of tumor angiogenesis as demonstrated by the decrease of microvessel density in tumor tissues. Moreover, PZH treatment reduced the expression of angiogenic factors including iNOS, eNOS, VEGF-A, bFGF as well as their specific receptors VEGFR2 and bFGFR. Altogether, our findings suggest that inhibition of tumor angiogenesis via suppression of multiple signaling pathways might be one of the mechanisms whereby PZH affects cancers.


Shen A.,Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine | Chen Y.,Case Western Reserve University | Hong F.,Zhangzhou Pien Tze Huang Pharmaceutical Co. | Lin J.,Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine | And 5 more authors.
Oncology Reports | Year: 2012

IL-6/STAT3 is one of the most critical cellular signal transduction pathways known to malfunction in colorectal cancer (CRC). As a target gene of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) signaling, suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 (SOCS3) can be quickly induced by interleukin-6 (IL-6) stimulation but it then strongly inhibits IL-6-mediated STAT3 activation, functioning as a negative feedback regulator of the IL-6/STAT3 pathway. Aberrant activation of STAT3 and/or reduced expression of SOCS are strongly correlated with carcinogenesis, which therefore becomes a promising target for the development of novel anticancer chemotherapies. Pien Tze Huang (PZH) is a wellknown traditional Chinese formula that was first prescribed by a royal physician 450 years ago in the Ming Dynasty. It has been used in China and Southeast Asia for centuries as a folk remedy for various types of cancer including CRC. However, the precise mechanism of its antitumor activity remains largely unclear. In the present study, we found that PZH could significantly and dose-dependently inhibit IL-6-mediated increase of STAT3 phosphorylation levels and transcriptional activity in the human colon carcinoma HT-29 cells, resulting in the suppression of cell proliferation and the induction of apoptosis. In addition, PZH treatment profoundly inhibited IL-6-induced upregulation of cyclin D1 and Bcl-2, two key target genes of the STAT3 pathway. Moreover, PZH treatment increased the expression of SOCS3. These results suggest that PZH could effectively inhibit proliferation and promote apoptosis of human colon carcinoma cells via modulation of the IL-6/STAT3 signaling pathway and its target genes.


Shen A.,Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine | Chen H.,Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine | Chen Y.,Case Western Reserve University | Chen Y.,Zhangzhou Pien Tze Huang Pharmaceutical Co. | And 6 more authors.
Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine | Year: 2014

The traditional Chinese medicine formula Pien Tze Huang (PZH) has long been used as a folk remedy for cancer. To elucidate the mode of action of PZH against cancer, in the present study we used a 5-FU resistant human colorectal carcinoma cell line (HCT-8/5-FU) to evaluate the effects of PZH on multidrug resistance (MDR) and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) as well as the activation of TGF-β pathway. We found that PZH dose-dependently inhibited the viability of HCT-8/5-FU cells which were insensitive to treatment of 5-FU and ADM, demonstrating the ability of PZH to overcome chemoresistance. Furthermore, PZH increased the intercellular accumulation of Rhodamine-123 and downregulated the expression of ABCG2 in HCT-8/5-FU cells. In addition, drug resistance induced the process of EMT in HCT-8 cells as evidenced by EMT-related morphological changes and alteration in the expression of EMT-regulatory factors, which however was neutralized by PZH treatment. Moreover, PZH inhibited MDR/EMT-enhanced migration and invasion capabilities of HCT-8 cells in a dose-dependent manner and suppressed MDR-induced activation of TGF-β signaling in HCT-8/5-FU cells. Taken together, our study suggests that PZH can effectively overcome MDR and inhibit EMT in human colorectal carcinoma cells via suppression of the TGF-β pathway. © 2014 Aling Shen et al.


Chen H.,Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine | Shen A.,Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine | Zhang Y.,Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine | Chen Y.,Case Western Reserve University | And 5 more authors.
Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine | Year: 2014

Hypoxia-induced activation of the hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) signaling pathway is frequently observed in solid tumors and is strongly associated with numerous pathophysiological processes, including the induction of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), which result in cancer progression and metastasis. Thus, inhibiting EMT through the suppression of the HIF-1 pathway may be a promising strategy for anticancer chemotherapy. Pien Tze Huang (PZH), a well-established traditional Chinese medicine has been prescribed for >450 years and has been used for centuries to clinically treat various types of human cancer. We previously reported that PZH suppresses multiple intracellular signaling pathways and thereby promotes the apoptosis of cancer cells and the inhibition of cell proliferation and tumor angiogenesis. In the present study, to further explore the mechanisms underlying the antitumor action of PZH, HCT-8 human colon carcinoma cells were cultured under hypoxic conditions and the effect of PZH on hypoxia-induced EMT was assessed. Hypoxia was found to induce EMT-associated morphological changes in HCT-8 cells, including loss of cell adhesion and the development of spindle-shaped fibroblastoid-like morphology In addition, hypoxia was observed to reduce the expression of the epithelial marker E-cadherin, but increase that of the mesenchymal marker N-cadherin. In addition, hypoxia significantly enhanced HCT-8 cell migration and invasion and induced the activation of the HIF-1 pathway. However, treatment of the HCT-8 cells with PZH significantly inhibited the hypoxia-mediated EMT and HIF-1 signaling. These findings suggest that PZH inhibits hypoxia-induced cancer EMT through the suppression of the HIF-1 pathway, which may be one of the molecular mechanisms by which PZH exerts its antitumor activity.


Zhuang Q.,Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine | Hong F.,Zhangzhou Pien Tze Huang Pharmaceutical Co. | Shen A.,Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine | Zheng L.,Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine | And 7 more authors.
International Journal of Oncology | Year: 2012

Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) plays a critical role in cell survival and proliferation. Constitutive activation of STAT3 is strongly correlated with pathogenesis of various types of malignant tumors including colorectal cancer (CRC), and therefore is a major focus in the development of anti-cancer agents. Pien Tze Huang (PZH), a well-known traditional Chinese formula prescribed already in the Ming Dynasty, has been demonstrated to be clinically effective in the treatment of CRC. However, the precise mechanism of its anti-cancer activity remains largely unknown. In the present study we evaluated the efficacy of PZH against tumor growth in vivo in the CRC mouse xenograft model, and investigated the underlying molecular mechanisms. We found that administration of PZH reduced tumor volume and tumor weight but had no effect on body weight gain in CRC mice, demonstrating that PZH can inhibit colon cancer growth in vivo without apparent adverse effect. We also observed that PZH treatment inhibited the phosphorylation level of STAT3 in tumor tissues. Consequently, the inhibitory effect of PZH on STAT3 activation resulted in the up-regulation of Bax/Bcl-2 ratio as well as down-regulation of Cyclin D1 and CDK4 expression, leading to the induction of apoptosis as well as the inhibition of cell proliferation. These results suggest that promotion of cancer cell apoptosis and inhibition of proliferation via suppression of STAT3 pathway might be one of the mechanisms by which PZH treats colorectal cancer.


A method of treating a patient to improve liver functioning includes providing a drug composed of at least one of pharmaceutical 2-(4-morpholinoaniline)-6-cyclohexyl aminopurine and a salt thereof; and administering the drug to the patient in a manner and dosage effective to improve liver functioning. The 2-(4-morpholinoaniline)-6-cyclohexyl aminopurine can inhibit the activated hepatic stellate cells from synthesizing and expressing collagens and other extracellular matrix proteins including MMPs and TIMPs, and so it can inhibit liver fibrosis. In the liver, it can inhibit collagen synthesis and expression, and therefore reverse and treat hepatitis and liver cirrhosis effectively. Also disclosed is a method for preparing drugs for treating infective hepatitis, non-infectious hepatitis, liver injury, liver cirrhosis, liver cancer and liver fibrosis, and improving t liver functioning, in which the compound and/or salt thereof is used optionally or in combination with a target molecule or carrier comprising a vitamin A-coupled liposome.


The present invention provides a new use of 2-(4-morpholinoaniline)-6-cyclohexyl aminopurine and pharmaceutically acceptable salt or derivative thereof. The 2-(4-morpholinoaniline)-6-cyclohexyl aminopurine can inhibit the activated hepatic stellate cells from synthesizing and expressing collagens and other extracellular matrix proteins including MMPs and TIMPs, and so it can inhibit liver fibrosis. In the liver, it can inhibit collagen synthesis and expression, and therefore reverse and treat hepatitis and liver cirrhosis effectively. Also discloses is a method for preparing drugs for treating or preventing infective hepatitis, non-infectious hepatitis, liver injury, liver cirrhosis, liver cancer and liver fibrosis, and protecting and improving the liver function, in which the compound is used alone or in combination with a target molecule or carrier comprising a vitamin A-coupled liposome.


PubMed | Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Zhangzhou Pien Tze Huang Pharmaceutical Co.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Oncology reports | Year: 2015

Cancer stem cells (CSCs) possess properties of continuous self-renewal, multi-directional differentiation and natural chemoresistance, leading to the initiation, progression and relapse of cancer. The characteristics of CSCs are strongly associated with multiple cellular pathways such as Notch1 signaling. Therefore, targeting CSCs via suppressing the Notch1 pathway might represent a promising strategy for cancer treatment. The well-known traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) formula Pien Tze Huang (PZH) has long been used as an alternative remedy for various cancers including colorectal cancer (CRC). We previously reported that PZH contains a broad range of anticancer activities including an inhibitory effect on CSCs. To further elucidate the mode of action of PZH, in this study we isolated the stem-like side population (SP) from the human CRC SW480 cell line to investigate its effect on CSCs as well as the possible molecular mechanisms. As compared with non-SP cells, the isolated SW480 SP cells displayed stronger capacities of spheroid formation in vitro and tumorigenicity in vivo, demonstrating the stem cell-like features of SP cells. However, PZH treatment significantly decreased the percentage of SP cells in a dose-dependent manner. In addition, PZH significantly and does-dependently inhibited the viability and promoted the apoptosis and differentiation of the isolated SW480 SP cells. Moreover, PZH treatment profoundly reduced the mRNA and protein expression of Notch1 and Hes1 in the SP cells. Our findings suggest that PZH negatively modulates the characteristics of CSCs through suppression of the Notch1 signaling pathway.

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