Author(s): Bishayee K, Sikdar S, KhudaBukhsh AR
Whether the ultra-highly-diluted remedies used in homeopathy can effectively bring about modulations of gene expressions through acetylation/deacetylation of histones has not been explored. Therefore, in this study, we pointedly checked if the homeopathically-diluted anti-cancer remedy Condurango 30C (ethanolic extract of Gonolobus condurango diluted 10(-60) times) was capable of arresting the cell cycles in cervical cancer cells HeLa by triggering an epigenetic modification through modulation of the activity of the key enzyme histone deacetylase 2 vis-a-vis the succussed alcohol (placebo) control.
We checked the activity of different signal proteins (like p21(WAF), p53, Akt, STAT3) related to deacetylation, cell growth and differentiation by western blotting and analyzed cell-cycle arrest, if any, by fluorescence activated cell sorting. After viability assays had been performed with Condurango 30C and with a placebo, the activities of histone de-acetylase (HDAC) enzymes 1 and 2 were measured colorimetrically.
While Condurango 30C induced cytotoxicity in HeLa cells in vitro and reduced HDAC2 activity quite strikingly, it apparently did not alter the HDAC1 enzyme; the placebo had no or negligible cytotoxicity against HeLa cells and could not alter either the HDAC 1 or 2 activity. Data on p21(WAF), p53, Akt, and STAT3 activities and a cell-cycle analysis revealed a reduction in DNA synthesis and G1-phase cell-cycle arrest when Condurango 30C was used at a 2% dose.
Condurango 30C appeared to trigger key epigenetic events of gene modulation in effectively combating cancer cells, which the placebo was unable to do.