Mineral pitch induces apoptosis and inhibits proliferation via modulating reactive oxygen species in hepatic cancer cells

Kishor Pant, Parul Gupta, Preeti Damania, Ajay K. Yadav, Aanchal Gupta, Anam Ashraf, Senthil K. Venugopal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: Mineral Pitch (MP) is a dark brown coloured humic matter originating from high altitude rocks. It is an Ayurvedic medicinal food, commonly used by the people of the Himalayan regions of Nepal and India for various body ailments. Methods: The Huh-7 cells were treated with different concentrations of MP for 24 h, and both apoptosis and proliferation was determined by the TUNEL and MTT assays respectively. The formation of ROS and nitric oxide was analysed by DCFH-DA and Griess reagent respectively. The expression of miRNA-21 and miRNA-22 were checked by the real time PCR. Effect of miRNA-22 on proliferation and c-myc was studied by over-expressing miRNA-22 premiRs in Huh-7 cells. Results: We found that MP enhanced anti-cancer effects by inducing apoptosis and inhibiting proliferation. MP induced both ROS and NO, upon neutralizing them, there was a partial recovery of apoptosis and proliferation. MP also induced miRNA-22 expression, while miRNA-21 expression was inhibited. Over-expression of miRNA-22 resulted in a significant inhibition of proliferation. miRNA-22 directly targeted c-myc gene, thereby inhibited proliferation. These results clearly show that MP induces its anti-cancer activity by more than one pathway. Conclusion: The data clearly indicate that MP induced apoptosis via the production of ROS, and inhibited proliferation by inducing miRNA-22 and inhibiting miRNA-21 in Huh-7 cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number148
JournalBMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 27 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Anticancer
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Mineral Pitch
  • Oxidative stress
  • Proliferation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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