Author(s): Ooi KL, Muhammad TS, Sulaiman SF
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Abstract ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: The decoction of the whole plant of Physalis minima L. is traditionally consumed to treat cancer. Its anticancer property has been previously verified (using in vitro cytotoxicity assays) against NCI-H23 lung, CORL23 lung and MCF7 breast cancer cell lines but the mechanism underlying the anticancer potency towards ovarian carcinoma cells remain unclear. AIM OF THE STUDY: The present study is aimed to systematically determine the cytotoxicity and possible cell death mechanism elicited by the chloroform extract of Physalis minima in human ovarian Caov-3 carcinoma. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Cytotoxicity of the extract was measured using the methylene blue assay. The mechanism of cell death was determined using four independent methods, namely DeadEnd assay to label the DNA fragmentation nuclei cells, RT-PCR analysis to determine the mRNA expression level of three apoptotic genes (c-myc, p53 and caspase-3 genes), Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) analysis to describe the ultra structural characteristics and annexin V and propidium iodide staining to confirm the types and stages of cell deaths. RESULTS: Cytotoxicity screening of the extract on Caov-3 cells exhibited concentration- and time-dependent inhibitory effects. A combination of apoptotic and autophagic programmed cell death was detected. The apoptotic characteristic was initially determined by DNA fragmentation followed by the expression of c-myc and p53 genes that was much earlier than caspase-3. Apoptotic ultra structural changes (including clumping and magination of chromatin, blebbing and convolution of nucleus membrane and formation of apoptotic bodies) and autophagy (Type II non-apoptotic programmed cell death) with distinct vacuolated morphology were detected in TEM analysis. The existence of these programmed cell deaths was then corroborated using annexin V and propidium iodide staining. CONCLUSIONS: The chloroform extract of Physalis minima exerted anticancer effect due to a combination of apoptotic and autophagic cell death mechanisms on Caov-3 cells. The induction of these programmed cell deaths was mediated via c-myc, p53 and caspase-3 dependent pathway. The results could provide a valuable insight in cancer therapy. Copyright (c) 2009 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in J Ethnopharmacol
and referenced in Biochemistry & Analytical Biochemistry