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Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine ›› 2006, Vol. 4 ›› Issue (5): 485-489.doi: 10.3736/jcim20060509

• Original Experimental Research • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Evidence for Oldenlandia diffusa-evoked cancer cell apoptosis through superoxide burst and caspase activation

Kumar-sanjiv Yadav, Shao-chin Lee    

  1. Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117597
  • Online:2006-09-30 Published:2006-09-15

Background & Objective: Oldenlandia diffusa (Bai Hua She She Cao) is one of the herbs most commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine for treating cancer. Various studies using the herb alone or in combination with other therapy plans have evidenced the effectiveness of the herb in the management of cancers of different tissue origin. However, the mechanisms underlying its anti-cancer activity are unknown. In the present study, we attempted to investigate the apoptotic activity of crude extracts of the herb as well as the possible molecular pathways. Methods:We incubated human promyelocytic leukemia cell line HL60 cells with ethanol or aqueous extracts of the herb, and determined the levels of intracellular superoxide at 2 and 4 hours as well as caspase activity at 3, 6 and 8 hours using photospectrometry. Cancer cell survival and apoptosis were quantified at 24 hours by using MTT and flow cytometry analyses respectively.Results: We found that it dose-dependently inhibited the cancer cell growth in MTT assay. Flow cytometry analysis revealed that it elicited significant production of sub-G1 population of the cells, indicating the extract-evoked cell apoptotic death. The LD50 of the ethanol extract was estimated to be approximately 320 μg/ml. Moreover, treatment of the cancer cells with the ethanol component markedly increased the production of superoxide within few hours. Significant elevation in the protease activities of caspases-2 and -3 were detected at as early as 3 and 6 hours respectively. Conclusion: Our results show that the ethanol extract of the herb effectively evokes cancer cell apoptosis, possibly through burst-mediated caspase activation.

Key words: Oldenlandia diffusa, Cancer, Superoxide, Caspase, Apoptosis

CLC Number: 

  • R285.5

Figure 1

Extracts of Oldenlandia diffusa inhibit the cancer cell survival and elicit apoptosisA: MTT assay for cells treated with ethanol extract; B: MTT assay for cells treated with aqueous extract; C: Flow cytometry analysis for cells treated with ethanol extract."

Figure 2

The ethanol fraction of Oldenlandia diffusa evoked production of superoxideWhen treated with the ethanol fraction, significant increase in cellular level of superoxide was detected in as early as 2 hours. Further increase was seen in the longer time of treatment (4 hours)."

Figure 3

The ethanol fraction of Oldenlandia diffusa elicited caspase activationDose-dependent increase in caspase-2 activity was noted from as early as 3 hours of treatment. Caspase-3 was significantly activated at later time point (i.e., 8 hours)."

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