Oral Biol Res.  2023 Jun;47(2):51-58. 10.21851/obr.47.02.202306.51.

Methanol extracts of Undaria pinnatifida induces apoptosis via the death-receptor and Bcl-2 family pathway in human oral cancer cells

  • 1Assistant Professor, Department of Dental Hygiene, College of Health and Welfare, Kyungwoon University, Gumi, Republic of Korea
  • 2Research Professor, Marine Healthcare Research & Evaluation Center, Chosun University, Gwangju, Republic of Korea
  • 3Professor, Department of Oral Biochemistry, College of Dentistry, Chosun University, Gwangju, Republic of Korea


Undaria pinnatifida (UP), commonly known as Wakame, is a brown algae belonging to the seaweed family. It has long been used as traditional medicine to relieve thrombosis and pain in Asian regions such as China, Japan, and Korea and has been reported to be effective in reducing body fat, acting as an antioxidant, and alleviating metabolic diseases. However, its anticancer activity against oral cancer remains unknown. Herein, we analyzed the anticancer activity and mechanism of U. pinnatifida methanol extract (MeUP) on oral cancer cell lines (FaDu, YD-38, and YD-10B). The MeUP inhibited oral cancer cells’ viability without affecting normal cells (periodontal ligament), as demonstrated by the MTT assay. Moreover, the fluorescence staining analysis revealed that UP-induced suppression of oral cancer cell proliferation was dependent on apoptosis. Furthermore, UP-induced apoptosis of oral cancer cells by inducing the hydrolysis of extrinsic apoptotic factors via death-receptors and activation of intrinsic apoptotic factors through the mitochondrial outer membrane was determined by western blot analyses. Overall, these findings suggest that the inhibitory effects of MeUP on oral cancer cells’ growth may be mediated by caspase- and mitochondrial-dependent apoptotic pathways in human oral cancer cells (FaDu, YD38, and YD-10B). Therefore, MeUP has the potential to be used as a natural chemotherapeutic drug against human oral cancer.


Apoptosis; Brown algae; Human oral cancer cells; Seaweed; Undaria pinnatifida
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