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Houttuynia cordata Thunb extract modulates G0/G1 arrest and Fas/CD95-mediated death receptor apoptotic cell death in human lung cancer A549 cells

Yuh-Fung Chen1*, Jai-Sing Yang1, Wen-Shin Chang1, Shih-Chang Tsai2, Shu-Fen Peng2 and Yuan-Ru Zhou1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pharmacology, College of Medicine, China Medical University, No 91, Hsueh-Shih Road, Taichung 40402, Taiwan

2 Department of Biological Science and Technology, College of Life Sciences, China Medical University, No 91, Hsueh-Shih Road, Taichung 40402, Taiwan

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Journal of Biomedical Science 2013, 20:18  doi:10.1186/1423-0127-20-18

Published: 19 March 2013



Houttuynia cordata Thunb (HCT) is commonly used in Taiwan and other Asian countries as an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral herbal medicine. In this study, we investigated the anti-human lung cancer activity and growth inhibition mechanisms of HCT in human lung cancer A549 cells.


In order to investigate effects of HCT on A549 cells, MTT assay was used to evaluate cell viability. Flow cytometry was employed for cell cycle analysis, DAPI staining, and the Comet assay was used for DNA fragmentation and DNA condensation. Western blot analysis was used to analyze cell cycle and apoptotic related protein levels. HCT induced morphological changes including cell shrinkage and rounding. HCT increased the G0/G1 and Sub-G1 cell (apoptosis) populations and HCT increased DNA fragmentation and DNA condensation as revealed by DAPI staining and the Comet assay. HCT induced activation of caspase-8 and caspase-3. Fas/CD95 protein levels were increased in HCT-treated A549 cells. The G0/G1 phase and apoptotic related protein levels of cyclin D1, cyclin A, CDK 4 and CDK 2 were decreased, and p27, caspase-8 and caspase-3 were increased in A549 cells after HCT treatment.


The results demonstrated that HCT-induced G0/G1 phase arrest and Fas/CD95-dependent apoptotic cell death in A549 cells

Houttuynia cordata Thunb (HCT); G0/G1 arrest; Apoptosis; Fas/CD95; Lung cancer A549 cells