Chemotherapy, a major approach was used in carcinoma treatment, always involves the development of drug resistance as well as side-effects that affect the quality of patients' lives. An association between epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and chemotherapy resistance was established recently. We demonstrate in this paper that the aqueous extract of Paris polyphylla (AEPP) - a traditional Chinese medicine - can be used in various cancer types for suppression of carcinogenesis. We evaluated the suppressions of EMT and mitochondrial activity by AEPP treatment in a high-glucose (HG) induced-human ovarian carcinoma cell line (OVCAR-3 cells). The mitochondrial morphology was investigated using MitoTracker Deep Red FM staining. Our results indicated that AEPP reduced the viability of OVCAR-3 cells considerably through induction of apoptosis. However, this inhibitory potential of AEPP was attenuated by HG induction in OVCAR-3 cells. The levels of estrogen-related receptor (ERR)-alpha activator and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma coactivator (PGC)-1alpha were elevated by HG induction, but were suppressed by AEPP treatment. Down-regulations of cell survival and EMT were oberved in OVCAR-3 cells through suppression of PGC-1alpha by AEPP treatment. These results were confirmed through PGC-1alpha knockdown and overexpression in OVCAR-3 cells. Thus, AEPP can be beneficial for treating ovarian cancer and has potential for development of an integrative cancer therapy against ovarian cancer proliferation, metastasis, and migration.
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