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Erk is involved in the differentiation induced by diallyl disulfide in the human gastric cancer cell line MGC803


Diallyl disulfide (DADS) is a major constituent of garlic. Previously, we found that DADS both inhibited proliferation in human gastric cancer cells in vitro and in vivo, and induced G2/M arrest. In this study, we investigated whether this differentiation effect was induced by DADS in human gastric cancer MGC803 cells, and whether it was related to an alteration in ERK activity. The results showed that the growth of MGC803 cells was inhibited by DADS. Cells treated with DADS displayed a lower nucleocytoplasmic ratio and tended to form gland and intercellular conjunction structures. The ConA-mediated cell agglutination ratio and cells’ ALP specific activity decreased. In MGC803 cells, dye transfer was limited to a few cells neighbouring the dye-injected cell and to a depth of 1–2 layers beneath the scrape site. However, after treatment with DADS, the LY (Lucifer Yellow) was transferred to several cells immediately neighbouring the microinjected cell and to a depth of 2–4 cell layers from the scrape site. This indicated that DADS induced differentiation in MGC803 cells. Western blot analysis revealed that although DADS did not influence the quantity of ERK1/2 protein expressed, it did decrease its phosphorylation in a concentration-dependent manner, compared with the controls. At 30 mg·L−1, DADS inhibited the activation of ERK1/2 in 15–30 min. These results suggested that the DADS-induced differentiation of MGC803 cells involved an alteration of the ERK1/2 signaling pathway.



alkaline phosphatase


concanavalin A


diallyl disulfide


diallyl sulfide


extracellular signal-regulated kinase


gap junctional intercellular communication


Lucifer Yellow


mitogen-activated protein kinase


tihiazolyl blue


phosphate buffered saline


retinoic acid


scrape-loading and dye transfer


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Correspondence to Qi Su.

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Ling, H., Zhang, LY., Su, Q. et al. Erk is involved in the differentiation induced by diallyl disulfide in the human gastric cancer cell line MGC803. Cell Mol Biol Lett 11, 408–423 (2006).

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Key words

  • Diallyl disulfide
  • Stomach neoplasm
  • Differentiation
  • ERK