AFM-detected apoptosis of hepatocellular carcinoma cells induced by American ginseng root water extract

Yingmin Qu, Zuobin Wang, Feihu Zhao, Jinyun Liu, Wenxiao Zhang, Jingmei Li, Zhengxun Song, Hongmei Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


American ginseng as a common and traditional herbal medicine has been used in cancer treatment for many years. However, the effect of American ginseng on the cancer cell response (i.e. apoptosis) has not been fully understood yet. Previous studies demonstrated that cellular apoptosis was associated with the changes of mechanical and morphological properties. Therefore, in this study, mechanical and morphological characterizations were carried out by both atomic force microscope (AFM) and inverted optical microscope to investigate the apoptosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (SMMC-7721) cells affected by American ginseng root water extract (AGRWE). The results showed that the cells treated with AGRWE exhibited significantly larger surface roughness, height and elastic modulus values than control group. Moreover, those parameters were upregulated under the higher concentration of AGRWE and longer culture time. Consequently, it indicates that the mechanical and morphological properties can be used as the apoptotic characteristics of SMMC-7721 cells. Also, the increased surface roughness and elastic modulus of cells under the AGRWE treatment have shown that the apoptosis of SMMC-7721 cells can be enhanced by AGRWE. This will provide an important implication for hepatocelluar carcinoma treatment and drug development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • American ginseng
  • Atomic force microscope (AFM)
  • Cell apoptosis
  • Cellular stiffness
  • SMMC-7721 cells
  • Antineoplastic Agents/isolation & purification
  • Panax/chemistry
  • Humans
  • Hepatocytes/drug effects
  • Liver Neoplasms
  • Plant Roots/chemistry
  • Microscopy
  • Plant Extracts/isolation & purification
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured/drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Microscopy, Atomic Force
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular
  • Apoptosis

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