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Betulin is a triterpene with a pentacyclic ring structure and hydroxyl groups in positions C3 and C28. Studies indicate that Betulin can effect intracellular signaling in ethanol-induced liver cells via inhibiting ROS, TNFα and TNFβ. In human cancer cells Betulin can induce mitochondrial cytochrome C release in human cancer cells, which results in apoptosis. Alternate studies on mice show that Betulin binds to melanocortin receptors and antagonizes the release of cAMP generation in mouse melanoma cells. Furthermore, Betulin has protective effects against cadmium induced apoptosis in human hepatoma cell lines. This occurs by inhibiting the activation of ROS, blocking Bid activation and suppressing the mitochondrial pathway.
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