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Upregulation of autophagy by Ginsenoside Rg2 in MCF-7 cells
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Autophagy is a major intracellular degradation process that plays an important role in cell survival, stress responses, nutrient sensing and development. Our previous studies have shown that Rg2, a triterpenoid saponin contained in ginseng, protects cells against UVB-induced genotoxicity by increasing DNA repair, in possible association with modulation of protein levels involved in p53 pathway. In this study, we determined an upregulation of autophagy by Rg2. Rg2 treatment for 24 h in MCF-7, a breast cancer cell, did not show cytotoxicity up to 200 mu M. Rg2 also upregulated the level of p-p53, p-AMPK, p-ACC, Atg-7 and LC3-II and decreased the level of p62 in concentration-dependent manners. We also determined the level of p53, AMPK, p62, Atg-7 and LC3 after UVB exposure and subsequent incubation in growth medium for 24 h. UVB increased the level of p-p53, p-AMPK, p-ACC and decreased the levels of p62, Atg-7 and LC3-II. Interestingly, Rg2 treatment for 24 h after UVB exposure increased the levels of p-p53, p-AMPK, p-ACC, Atg-7 and LC3-II and decreased the level of cyclobutane pyrimidine dimer, a UVB-induced DNA damage in concentration-dependent manners. All these results suggest that Rg2 increased autophagy and decreased UVB-induced DNA damage, in possible association with the modulation of protein levels in p53- and autophagic pathways.