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Purpose: To investigate the involvement of aldo-keto reductase family 1 member C1 (AKR1C1) in glycyrrhizic acid-mediated gastric cancer.
Methods: Immunohistochemistry, quantitative real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR), and western blot were used to assess AKR1C1 expression in gastric cancer. Cell proliferation was assessed using 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl-2H-tetrazolium bromide (MTT) and colony formation assay. Apoptosis was evaluated by flow cytometry. Transwell and wound healing assays were performed to investigate cell invasion and migration, respectively.
Results: AKR1C1 was significantly upregulated in gastric cancer tissues and cells (p < 0.01). AKR1C1 knockdown suppressed cell proliferation, migration, and invasion of gastric cancer, but promoted cell apoptosis. Glycyrrhizic acid treatment reduced AKR1C1 expression in gastric cancer cells (p < 0.05). AKR1C1 overexpression attenuated the glycyrrhizic acid-induced increase in gastric cancer cell apoptosis as well as the decrease in cell proliferation, migration, and invasion.
Conclusion: AKR1C1 contributes to gastric cancer cell proliferation and metastasis and counteracts the suppressive effects of glycyrrhizic acid on gastric cancer cell proliferation and metastasis.