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Journal of Integrative Medicine: Volume 11, 2013   Issue 4,  Pages: 269-277

DOI: 10.3736/jintegrmed2013040
Research Article
Antineoplastic effects of deoxyelephantopin, a sesquiterpene lactone from Elephantopus scaber, on lung adenocarcinoma (A549) cells
1. Farha A. Kabeer (Division of Cancer Research, Regional Cancer Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, Pin 695011, Kerala, India )
2. Geetha B. Sreedevi (Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute, Pin 695562, Thiruvananthapuram, India )
3. Mangalam S. Nair (National Institute of Interdisciplinary Science and Technology, Pin 695019, Thiruvananthapuram, India )
4. Dhanya S. Rajalekshmi (National Institute of Interdisciplinary Science and Technology, Pin 695019, Thiruvananthapuram, India )
5. Latha P. Gopalakrishnan (Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute, Pin 695562, Thiruvananthapuram, India )
6. Sujathan Kunjuraman (Division of Cancer Research, Regional Cancer Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, Pin 695011, Kerala, India )
7. Remani Prathapan (Division of Cancer Research, Regional Cancer Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, Pin 695011, Kerala, India E-mail: remanipr@gmail.com)

OBJECTIVE: Deoxyelephantopin, a sesquiterpene lactone from Elephantopus scaber, showed inhibition of the growth of various tumor cells in vitro. In the present study, we investigated the cytotoxicity and apoptosis-inducing capacity of deoxyelephantopin on lung adenocarcinoma (A549) cells.

METHODS: The cytotoxic effect of deoxyelephantopin on A549 cells and normal lymphocytes was evaluated using 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay and 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) value was determined. The self-renewal and proliferating potential of A549 cells after treatment with deoxyelephantopin were examined by colony formation assay. Cellular morphology of deoxyelephantopin-treated cells was observed using phase-contrast microscopy. The induction of apoptosis was evaluated using acridine orange and ethidium bromide staining, Hoechst 33342 staining, terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP biotin nick end-labeling (TUNEL) assay, DNA fragmentation analysis and Annexin V-fluorescein isothiocyanate staining by flow cytometry. Activation of caspases was detected using ?uorogenic substrate speci?c to caspases 2, 3, 8 and 9 and flow cytometric analysis. The total cellular DNA content and expression of cleaved poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase was also analyzed.

RESULTS: Deoxyelephantopin exhibited cytotoxicity to A549 cells (IC50 = 12.287 μg/mL), however, there was no toxicity towards normal human lymphocytes. Deoxyelephantopin suppressed the colony-forming ability of A549 cells in a dose-dependent manner. Acridine orange, ethidium bromide and Hoechst 33342 staining showed cell shrinkage, chromosomal condensation and nuclear fragmentation, indicating induction of apoptosis. Deoxyelephantopin increased apoptosis of A549 cells, as evidenced by more TUNEL-positive cells. DNA fragmentation and Annexin V staining revealed late-stage apoptotic cell population. Deoxyelephantopin inhibited A549 cell growth by cell cycle arrest at G2/M phase and induced apoptosis through both extrinsic and intrinsic pathways.

CONCLUSION: These results suggest that deoxyelephantopin has great potential as a new chemotherapeutic agent to be developed further for the treatment of lung cancer.

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Kabeer FA, Sreedevi GB, Nair MS, Rajalekshmi DS, Gopalakrishnan LP, Kunjuraman S, Prathapan R. Antineoplastic effects of deoxyelephantopin, a sesquiterpene lactone from Elephantopus scaber, on lung adenocarcinoma (A549) cells. J Integr Med. 2013; 11(4): 269-277.
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