Department of Anesthesiology, The First Affiliated Hospital, College of Medicine, Zhejiang University, 79 Qingchun Rd., Hangzhou 310003, China.
Propofol is one of the extensively commonly used intravenous anaesthetic agents. The effects of Propofol on hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) growth inhibition and apoptosis have been examined. The techniques used were the MTT assay, flow cytometry, real-time PCR to assess miR-199a expression, as also caspase-8 and caspase-9 activity in HepG2 cells treated with Propofol. Finally, we evaluated the effect of miR-199a on Propofol-induced anti-tumour activity using anti-miR-199a. Propofol efficiently inhibited the growth of HCC cells, but was less toxic to normal hepatic cells. It induced apoptosis and increased expression of miR-199a. Activation of caspase-8 and caspase-9 suggested that both extrinsic and intrinsic pathways are involved in Propofol-induced apoptosis. Anti-miR-199a reversed the effect of Propofol on apoptosis and activation of caspase-8 and caspase-9 in HepG2 cells. Propofol can effectively induce apoptosis of HCC cells and modulation of miR-199a possibly contributes to the anti-tumour action of Propofol. Hence, Propofol might be an effective drug for HCC.