The mechanism of action of Prunella vulgaris L. (PV) affecting cell migration and invasion of human liver cancer cells remains unknown. In this work we showed that the aqueous extract of PV affected migration and invasion of human liver carcinoma cells by inhibiting activities of metalloproteases, MMP-2 and MMP-9, without affecting cell viabilities. We further showed that PV suppressed migration through attenuation of enzymatic activities of MMP-9 and MMP-2 at transcriptional levels and the effects can be correlated with the status of p53 in hepatocarcinoma cells. This work provides a new dimension of understanding on Prunella vulgaris in restraining migration and invasion in human liver cancer cells.
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