Article Text

Download PDFPDF
The Effect of Thymoquinone on Apoptosis of SK-OV-3 Ovarian Cancer Cell by Regulation of Bcl-2 and Bax
  1. Xiaoli Liu, MD*,
  2. Jinhu Dong, MD,
  3. Wangyu Cai, MD,
  4. Ying Pan, PhD§,
  5. Ruili Li, PhD and
  6. Bing Li, PhD
  1. *Henan Province Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Zhengzhou;
  2. Nan Yang the First People's Hospital, Nanyang;
  3. Heilongjiang University of Chinese Medicine, Harbin;
  4. §The Third Affiliated Hospital of Xinxiang Medical University, Xinxiang;
  5. Henan University of Chinese Medicine, Zhengzhou; and
  6. Jinshan Hospital Affiliated to Fudan University, Shanghai, China.
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Bing Li, PhD, Jinshan Hospital Affiliated to Fudan University, 1508 Longhai Rd, Petrochemical Area, Jinshan District, Shanghai, 200540, China. E-mail:


Objective We aim to determine how cisplatin, thymoquinone (TQ), and combination regimen can affect apoptosis of cultured SK-OV-3 cells. We also want to explore the mechanism of these influences on the cells' apoptosis by Bcl-2 and Bax gene.

Method/Materials Cell Counting Kit-8 assay was used to measure the viability of cultured ovarian cancer cells. Propidium iodide with flow cytometry was used in cell cycle analysis. Thereafter, we used fluorescein isothiocyanate–stained annexin V and propidium iodide to detect the effect of cisplatin, TQ, and combination regimen on apoptosis. Real-time PCR was used to measure the Bcl-2 and Bax levels. Western blotting was used to measure on protein expression levels of Bcl-2 and Bax.

Results In Cell Counting Kit-8 assay, we found that inhibitory effect of TQ was even better than cisplatin, and combination regimen had best inhibitory effect on cell proliferation. In cell cycle analysis, we found all regimens had obvious effect to stop cell cycle in S phase. In apoptosis assay, we found that combination regimen was better to activate cell apoptosis than cisplatin alone. Combination regimen could decrease expression of Bcl-2 and increase expression of Bax more than cisplatin or TQ alone.

Conclusions Thymoquinone and cisplatin had comparable antitumoric effects on SK-OV-3 cells, and combination regimen was even better. Thymoquinone could also activate apoptosis by regulating Bcl-2 and Bax genes. These indicated potential advantage of TQ for ovarian cancer in clinical practice and suggested future clinical trials to confirm its effectiveness.

  • Thymoquinone
  • Cisplatin
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Apoptosis
  • Cell cycle

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • The authors declare no conflicts of interest.