Pluchea indica (L.) Less. (Asteraceae) is a perennial shrub plant with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant medicinal properties. However, the anti-cancer properties of its aqueous extracts have not been studied. The aim of this study was to investigate the anti-proliferation, anti-migration, and pro-apoptotic properties of crude aqueous extracts of P. indica leaf and root on human malignant glioma cancer cells and human cervical cancer cells, and the underlying molecular mechanism.
GBM8401 human glioma cells and HeLa cervical carcinoma cells were treated with various concentrations of crude aqueous extracts of P. indica leaf and root and cancer cell proliferation and viability were measured by cell growth curves, trypan blue exclusions, and the tetrazolium reduction assay. Effects of the crude aqueous extracts on focus formation, migration, and apoptosis of cancer cells were studied as well. The molecular mechanism that contributed to the anti-cancer activities of crude aqueous extracts of P. indica root was also examined using Western blotting analysis.
Crude aqueous extracts of P. indica leaf and root suppressed proliferation, viability, and migration of GBM8401 and HeLa cells. Treatment with crude aqueous extracts of P. indica leaf and root for 48 hours resulted in a significant 75% and 70% inhibition on proliferation and viability of GBM8401 and HeLa cancer cells, respectively. Crude aqueous extracts of P. indica root inhibited focus formation and promoted apoptosis of HeLa cells. It was found that phosphorylated-p53 and p21 were induced in GBM8401 and HeLa cells treated with crude aqueous extracts of P. indica root. Expression of phosphorylated-AKT was decreased in HeLa cells treated with crude aqueous extracts of P. indica root.
The in vitro anti-cancer effects of crude aqueous extracts of P. indica leaf and root indicate that it has sufficient potential to warrant further examination and development as a new anti-cancer agent.