MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play an essential role in regulating gene expression in normal and malignant cells. Expression of the microRNA-200 (miR-200) family has been correlated with malignancy in cancers. However, whether miR-200a/b plays a role in curcumin-mediated treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is unknown. We performed miRNA array analyses in two different HCC cell lines (HepG2 and HepJ5). The expression patterns of miR-200 family members were assessed with real-time PCR. We overexpressed miR-200 family members using a lentiviral system and selected stably transduced clones with antibiotics. The anticancer effects of curcumin on J5-200a, J5-200b, and J5-control cells were assessed by MTT assay, flow cytometry cell cycle analysis, and TUNEL assay. We found that HepG2 cells, which were more resistant to curcumin treatment than HepJ5 cells, expressed higher levels of miR-200a/b. The MTT assay revealed that the overexpression of miR-200a/b in HepJ5 cells conferred enhanced resistance to curcumin treatment compared with the control cells. By cell cycle analysis and TUNEL assay, we found that apoptosis was increased dramatically in J5-control cells compared with J5-200a and J5-200b cells after curcumin treatment. Finally, we evaluated the levels of Bcl-2, Bax, and Bad, and found a decrease of Bcl-2 levels and increase of Bad levels in the J5-control cells treated with curcumin. The expression levels of miR-200a/b might determine the therapeutic efficacy of curcumin on HCC cells.
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