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1.  In Vivo Hypocholesterolemic Effect of MARDI Fermented Red Yeast Rice Water Extract in High Cholesterol Diet Fed Mice 
Fermented red yeast rice has been traditionally consumed as medication in Asian cuisine. This study aimed to determine the in vivo hypocholesterolemic and antioxidant effects of fermented red yeast rice water extract produced using Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI) Monascus purpureus strains in mice fed with high cholesterol diet. Absence of monacolin-k, lower level of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), higher content of total amino acids, and antioxidant activities were detected in MARDI fermented red yeast rice water extract (MFRYR). In vivo MFRYR treatment on hypercholesterolemic mice recorded similar lipid lowering effect as commercial red yeast rice extract (CRYR) as it helps to reduce the elevated serum liver enzyme and increased the antioxidant levels in liver. This effect was also associated with the upregulation of apolipoproteins-E and inhibition of Von Willebrand factor expression. In summary, MFRYR enriched in antioxidant and amino acid without monacolin-k showed similar hypocholesterolemic effect as CRYR that was rich in monacolin-k and GABA.
doi:10.1155/2014/707829
PMCID: PMC4083602  PMID: 25031606
2.  In Vivo Antistress and Antioxidant Effects of Fermented and Germinated Mung Bean 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:694842.
Mung bean has been traditionally used to alleviate heat stress. This effect may be contributed by the presence of flavonoids and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA). On the other hand, fermentation and germination have been practised to enhance the nutritional and antioxidant properties of certain food products. The main focus of current study was to compare the antistress effect of none-process, fermented and germinated mung bean extracts. Acute and chronic restraint stresses were observed to promote the elevation of serum biochemical markers including cholesterol, triglyceride, total protein, liver enzymes, and glucose. Chronic cold restraint stress was observed to increase theadrenal gland weight, brain 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), and malondialdehyde (MDA) level while reducing brain antioxidant enzyme level. However, these parameters were found reverted in mice treated with diazepam, high concentration of fermented mung bean and high concentration of germinated mung bean. Moreover, enhanced level of antioxidant on the chronic stress mice was observed in fermented and germinated mung bean treated groups. In comparison between germinated and fermented mung bean, fermented mung bean always showed better antistress and antioxidant effects throughout this study.
doi:10.1155/2014/694842
PMCID: PMC4022108  PMID: 24877129
3.  Updates on Antiobesity Effect of Garcinia Origin (−)-HCA 
Garcinia is a plant under the family of Clusiaceae that is commonly used as a flavouring agent. Various phytochemicals including flavonoids and organic acid have been identified in this plant. Among all types of organic acids, hydroxycitric acid or more specifically (−)-hydroxycitric acid has been identified as a potential supplement for weight management and as antiobesity agent. Various in vivo studies have contributed to the understanding of the anti-obesity effects of Garcinia/hydroxycitric acid via regulation of serotonin level and glucose uptake. Besides, it also helps to enhance fat oxidation while reducing de novo lipogenesis. However, results from clinical studies showed both negative and positive antiobesity effects of Garcinia/hydroxycitric acid. This review was prepared to summarise the update of chemical constituents, significance of in vivo/clinical anti-obesity effects, and the importance of the current market potential of Garcinia/hydroxycitric acid.
doi:10.1155/2013/751658
PMCID: PMC3748738  PMID: 23990846
4.  In Vivo Immunomodulation and Lipid Peroxidation Activities Contributed to Chemoprevention Effects of Fermented Mung Bean against Breast Cancer 
Mung bean has been reported to have antioxidant, cytotoxic, and immunomodulatory effects in vitro. Fermented products are reported to have enhanced immunomodulation and cancer chemopreventive effects. In this study, fermented mung bean treatments in vivo were studied by monitoring tumor development, spleen immunity, serum cytokine (interleukin 2 and interferon gamma) levels, and spleen/tumor antioxidant levels after injection with low and high risk 4T1 breast cancer cells. Pretreatment with fermented mung bean was associated with delayed tumor formation in low risk mice. Furthermore, this treatment was connected with higher serum anticancer cytokine levels, spleen T cell populations, splenocyte cytotoxicity, and spleen/tumor antioxidant levels. Histopathological evaluation of fermented mung bean treated tumor revealed lower event of mitotic division. On the other hand, antioxidant and nitric oxide levels that were significantly increased in the untreated mice were inhibited in the fermented mung bean treated groups. These results suggested that fermented mung bean has potential cancer chemoprevention effects through the stimulation of immunity, lipid peroxidation, and anti-inflammation.
doi:10.1155/2013/708464
PMCID: PMC3654717  PMID: 23710232
5.  Antihyperglycemic Effects of Fermented and Nonfermented Mung Bean Extracts on Alloxan-Induced-Diabetic Mice 
Mung bean was reported as a potential antidiabetic agent while fermented food has been proposed as one of the major contributors that can reduce the risk of diabetes in Asian populations. In this study, we have compared the normoglycemic effect, glucose-induced hyperglycemic effect, and alloxan-induced hyperglycemic effect of fermented and nonfermented mung bean extracts. Our results showed that fermented mung bean extracts did not induce hypoglycemic effect on normal mice but significantly reduced the blood sugar levels of glucose- and alloxan-induced hyperglycemic mice. The serum levels of cholesterol, triglyceride (TG), and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) were also lowered while insulin secretion and antioxidant level as measured by malonaldehyde (MDA) assays were significantly improved in the plasma of the fermented mung bean-treated group in alloxan-induced hyperglycemic mouse. These results indicated that fermentation using Mardi Rhizopus sp. strain 5351 inoculums could enhance the antihyperglycemic and the antioxidant effects of mung bean in alloxan-treated mice. The improvement in the antihyperglycemic effect may also be contributed by the increased content of GABA and the free amino acid that are present in the fermented mung bean extracts.
doi:10.1155/2012/285430
PMCID: PMC3469204  PMID: 23091343
6.  Immunomodulatory Effect of Rhaphidophora korthalsii on Natural Killer Cell Cytotoxicity 
The in vivo immunomodulatory effect of ethanolic extracts from leaves of Rhaphidophora korthalsii was determined via immune cell proliferation, T/NK cell phenotyping, and splenocyte cytotoxicity of BALB/c mice after 5 consecutive days of i.p. administration at various concentrations. Splenocyte proliferation index, cytotoxicity, peripheral blood T/NK cell population, and plasma cytokine (IL-2 and IFN-γ) in mice were assessed on day 5 and day 15. High concentration of extract (350 μg/mice/day for 5 consecutive days) was able to stimulate immune cell proliferation, peripheral blood NK cell population, IL-2, and IFN- γ cytokines, as well as splenocyte cytotoxicity against Yac-1 cell line. Unlike rIL-2 which degraded rapidly, the stimulatory effect from the extract managed to last until day 15. These results suggested the potential of this extract as an alternative immunostimulator, and they encourage further study on guided fractionation and purification to identify the active ingredients that contribute to this in vitro and in vivo immunomodulatory activity.
doi:10.1155/2012/786487
PMCID: PMC3175394  PMID: 21941589
7.  Antioxidant effects of pineapple vinegar in reversing of paracetamol-induced liver damage in mice 
Chinese Medicine  2015;10:3.
Background
Pineapple (Ananas comosus) was demonstrated to be hepatoprotective. This study aims to investigate the reversing effects of pineapple vinegar on paracetamol-induced liver damage in murine model.
Methods
Pineapple juice was fermented via anaerobic and aerobic fermentation to produce pineapple vinegar. Male BALB/c mice (n = 70) were separated into 7 treatment groups (n = 10). Pineapple vinegar (0.08 and 2 mL/kg BW) and synthetic vinegar were used to treat paracetamol-induced liver damage in mice. The hepatoprotective effects were determined by serum biochemistry profiles (aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), and triglyceride (TG)), liver antioxidant levels (ferric-reducing ability plasma (FRAP), superoxide dismutase (SOD), malondialdehyde (MDA), nitric oxide (NO), and reduced glutathione assays (GSH)) and histopathological examination with hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining. The effects were further evaluated by the expression levels of iNOS, NF-κB, and cytochrome P450 2E1 by quantitative real-time PCR and Western blot analyses. Vinegar samples were also tested for in vitro antioxidant (FRAP, 2,2-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH), and total phenolic content (TPC)). Soluble phenolic acid contents in the samples were identified by HPLC.
Results
Pineapple vinegar contained 169.67 ± 0.05 μg GAE/mL of TPC, with 862.61 ± 4.38 μg/mL gallic acid as the main component. Oral administration of pineapple vinegar at 2 mL/kg BW reduced serum enzyme biomarker levels, including AST (P = 0.008), ALT (P = 0.006), ALP (P= 0.002), and TG (P = 0.006) after 7 days of paracetamol treatment. Liver antioxidant levels such as hepatic glutathione (P = 0.003), SOD (P < 0.001), lipid peroxidation (P = 0.002) and FRAP (P <0.001) were restored after the treatment. Pineapple vinegar reduced the expressions of iNOS (P = 0.003) and NF-kB (P = 0.003) and the level of NO (P = 0.003) significantly. Pineapple vinegar also downregulated liver cytochrome P450 protein expression.
Conclusions
Oral administration of pineapple vinegar at 0.08 and 2 mL/kg BW reduced serum enzyme biomarker levels, restored liver antioxidant levels, reduced inflammatory factor expressions, and down regulated liver cytochrome P450 protein expression in paracetamol-induced liver damage in mice.
doi:10.1186/s13020-015-0030-4
PMCID: PMC4333164
8.  Nordamnacanthal potentiates the cytotoxic effects of tamoxifen in human breast cancer cells 
Oncology Letters  2014;9(1):335-340.
Tamoxifen (TAM) is the mainline drug treatment for breast cancer, despite its side effects and the development of resistance. As an alternative approach, in the present study a novel combination therapy was established through combining TAM with nordamnacanthal (NDAM) in order to investigate the additive effect of these drugs in MCF-7 human breast cancer cells. A significant dose-dependent reduction in cell viability and an increase in apoptosis were observed in the MCF-7 cells cotreated with TAM and NDAM compared with the untreated control cells or the cells treated with TAM and NDAM alone (P<0.05). The cytotoxic influence of the combination of TAM and NDAM was found to be two-fold that of the individual agents. Annexin V/propidium iodide double-staining revealed the typical nuclear features of apoptosis. Furthermore, an increase in the proportion of apoptotic, Annexin V-positive cells was observed with the combination therapy. Moreover, this apoptotic induction was associated with a collapse of the mitochondrial membrane potential and the generation of reactive oxygen species. To the best of our knowledge, the findings of the present study are the first to suggest that combining TAM with NDAM may be a potential combination therapy for the treatment of breast cancer and may have the potential to minimize or eliminate the side effects associated with high doses of TAM.
doi:10.3892/ol.2014.2697
PMCID: PMC4247001  PMID: 25435988
tamoxifen; nordamnacanthal; MCF-7; breast cancer; combination treatment; apoptosis
9.  Antistress and antioxidant effects of virgin coconut oil in vivo 
Virgin coconut oil (VCO) has been consumed worldwide for various health-related reasons and some of its benefits have been scientifically evaluated. Medium-chain fatty acids were found to be a potential antidepressant functional food; however, this effect had not been evaluated in VCO, which is rich in polyphenols and medium-chain fatty acids. The aim of this study was to evaluate the antistress and antioxidant effects of VCO in vivo, using mice with stress-induced injury. The antistress effect of VCO (administered per os, at a dose of 10 ml/kg body weight) was evaluated using the forced swim test and chronic cold restraint stress models. VCO was able to reduce immobility time and restore oxidative stress in mice post-swim test. Furthermore, mice treated with VCO were found to exhibit higher levels of brain antioxidants, lower levels of brain 5-hydroxytryptamine and reduced weight of the adrenal glands. Consequently, the serum cholesterol, triglyceride, glucose and corticosterone levels were also lower in VCO-treated mice. These results suggest the potential value of VCO as an antistress functional oil.
doi:10.3892/etm.2014.2045
PMCID: PMC4247320  PMID: 25452773
antioxidant; depression; medium-chain fatty acids
10.  Flavokawain A Induces Apoptosis in MCF-7 and MDA-MB231 and Inhibits the Metastatic Process In Vitro 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e105244.
Introduction
The kava-kava plant (Piper methsyticum) is traditionally known as the pacific elixir by the pacific islanders for its role in a wide range of biological activities. The extract of the roots of this plant contains a variety of interesting molecules including Flavokawain A and this molecule is known to have anti-cancer properties. Breast cancer is still one of the leading diagnosed cancers in women today. The metastatic process is also very pertinent in the progression of tumorigenesis.
Methods
MCF-7 and MDA-MB231 cells were treated with several concentrations of FKA. The apoptotic analysis was done through the MTT assay, BrdU assay, Annexin V analysis, cell cycle analysis, JC-1 mitochondrial dye, AO/PI dual staining, caspase 8/9 fluorometric assay, quantitative real time PCR and western blot. For the metastatic assays, the in vitro scratch assay, trans-well migration/invasion assay, HUVEC tube formation assay, ex vivo rat aortic ring assay, quantitative real time PCR and western blot were employed.
Results
We have investigated the effects of FKA on the apoptotic and metastatic process in two breast cancer cell lines. FKA induces apoptosis in both MCF-7 and MDA-MB231 in a dose dependent manner through the intrinsic mitochondrial pathway. Additionally, FKA selectively induces a G2/M arrest in the cell cycle machinery of MDA-MB231 and G1 arrest in MCF-7. This suggests that FKA's anti-cancer activity is dependent on the p53 status. Moreover, FKA also halted the migration and invasion process in MDA-MB231. The similar effects can be seen in the inhibition of the angiogenesis process as well.
Conclusions
FKA managed to induce apoptosis and inhibit the metastatic process in two breast cancer cell lines, in vitro. Overall, FKA may serve as a promising candidate in the search of a new anti-cancer drug especially in halting the metastatic process but further in vivo evidence is needed.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0105244
PMCID: PMC4186755  PMID: 25286005
11.  Acute Toxicity Study of Zerumbone-Loaded Nanostructured Lipid Carrier on BALB/c Mice Model 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:563930.
Zerumbone- (ZER-) loaded nanostructure lipid carrier (NLC) (ZER-NLC) prepared for its antileukemia effect in vitro was evaluated for its toxicological effects by observing changes in the liver, kidney, spleen, lung, heart, and brain tissues, serum biochemical parameters, total haemogram, and bone marrow stem cells. The acute toxicity study for ZER-NLC was conducted by orally treating BALB/c mice with a single dose with either water, olive oil, ZER, NLC, or ZER-NLC for 14 days. The animals were observed for clinical and behavioral abnormalities, toxicological symptoms, feed consumption, and gross appearance. The liver, kidney, heart, lung, spleen, and brain tissues were assessed histologically. Total haemogram was counted by hemocytometry and microhematocrit reader. Bone marrow examination in terms of cellular morphology was done by Wright staining with bone marrow smear. Furthermore, serum biochemical parameters were determined spectrophotometrically. Grossly all treated mice, their investigated tissues, serum biochemical parameters, total haemogram, and bone marrow were normal. At oral doses of 100 and 200 mg/kg ZER-NLC there was no sign of toxicity or mortality in BALB/c mice. This study suggests that the 50% lethal dose (LD50) of ZER-NLC is higher than 200 mg/kg, thus, safe by oral administration.
doi:10.1155/2014/563930
PMCID: PMC4172924  PMID: 25276798
12.  Anti-Inflammatory and Antinociceptive Activities of Untreated, Germinated, and Fermented Mung Bean Aqueous Extract 
Evaluation of anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive activities of untreated mung bean (MB), germinated mung bean (GMB), and fermented mung bean (FMB) was performed on both in vitro (inhibition of inflammatory mediator, nitric oxide(NO)) and in vivo (inhibition of ear oedema and reduction of response to pain stimulus) studies. Results showed that both GMB and FMB aqueous extract exhibited potent anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive activities in a dose-dependent manner. In vitro results showed that GMB and FMB were potent inflammatory mediator (NO) inhibitors at both 2.5 and 5 mg/mL. Further in vivo studies showed that GMB and FMB aqueous extract at 1000 mg/kg can significantly reduce ear oedema in mice caused by arachidonic acid. Besides, both 200 mg/kg and 1000 mg/kg concentrations of GMB and FMB were found to exhibit potent antinociceptive effects towards hotplate induced pain. With these, it can be concluded that GMB and FMB aqueous extract exhibited potential anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive effects.
doi:10.1155/2014/350507
PMCID: PMC4089844  PMID: 25045389
13.  Induction of cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in caspase-3 deficient MCF-7 cells by Dillenia suffruticosa root extract via multiple signalling pathways 
Background
Dillenia suffruticosa root dichloromethane extract (DCM-DS) has been reported to exhibit strong cytotoxicity towards breast cancer cells. The present study was designed to investigate the cell cycle profile, mode of cell death and signalling pathways of DCM-DS-treated human caspase-3 deficient MCF-7 breast cancer cells.
Methods
Dillenia suffruticosa root was extracted by sequential solvent extraction. The anti-proliferative activity of DCM-DS was determined by using MTT assay. The mode of cell death was evaluated by using inverted light microscope and Annexin-V/PI-flow cytometry analysis. Cell cycle analysis and measurement of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) were performed by using flow cytometry. MCF-7 cells were co-treated with antioxidants α-tocopherol and ascorbic acid to evaluate whether the cell death was mainly due to oxidative stress. GeXP-based multiplex system was employed to investigate the expression of apoptotic, growth and survival genes in MCF-7 cells. Western blot analysis was performed to confirm the expression of the genes.
Results
DCM-DS was cytotoxic to the MCF-7 cells in a time-and dose-dependent manner. The IC50 values of DCM-DS at 24, 48 and 72 hours were 20.3 ± 2.8, 17.8 ± 1.5 and 15.5 ± 0.5 μg/mL, respectively. Cell cycle analysis revealed that DCM-DS induced G0/G1 and G2/M phase cell cycle arrest in MCF-7 cells at low concentration (12.5 and 25 μg/mL) and high concentration (50 μg/mL), respectively. Although Annexin-V/PI-flow cytometry analysis has confirmed that DCM-DS induced apoptosis in MCF-7 cells, the distinct characteristics of apoptosis such as membrane blebbing, chromatin condensation, nuclear fragmentation and formation of apoptotic bodies were not observed under microscope. DCM-DS induced formation of ROS in MCF-7 cells. Nevertheless, co-treatment with antioxidants did not attenuate the cell death at low concentration of DCM-DS. The pro-apoptotic gene JNK was up-regulated whereby anti-apoptotic genes AKT1 and ERK1/2 were down-regulated in a dose-dependent manner. Western blot analysis has confirmed that DCM-DS significantly up-regulated the expression of pro-apoptotic JNK1, pJNK and down-regulated anti-apoptotic AKT1, ERK1 in MCF-7 cells.
Conclusion
DCM-DS induced cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in MCF-7 cells via multiple signalling pathways. It shows the potential of DCM-DS to be developed to target the cancer cells with mutant caspase-3.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-197
PMCID: PMC4096536  PMID: 24947113
Dillenia suffruticosa; Dichloromethane extract; Cell cycle; Apoptosis; Oxidative stress
14.  Biomedical Properties of a Natural Dietary Plant Metabolite, Zerumbone, in Cancer Therapy and Chemoprevention Trials 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:920742.
Zerumbone (ZER) is a naturally occurring dietary compound, present in many natural foods consumed today. The compound derived from several plant species of the Zingiberaceae family that has been found to possess multiple biomedical properties, such as antiproliferative, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer activities. However, evidence of efficacy is sparse, pointing to the need for a more systematic review for assessing scientific evidence to support therapeutic claims made for ZER and to identify future research needs. This review provides an updated overview of in vitro and in vivo investigations of ZER, its cancer chemopreventive properties, and mechanisms of action. Therapeutic effects of ZER were found to be scientifically plausible and could be explained partially by in vivo and in vitro pharmacological activities. Much of the research outlined in this paper will serve as a foundation to explain ZER anticancer bioactivity, which will open the door for the development of strategies in the treatment of malignancies using ZER.
doi:10.1155/2014/920742
PMCID: PMC4082908  PMID: 25025076
15.  Application of PCR-ELISA in Molecular Diagnosis 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:653014.
Polymerase chain reaction-enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (PCR-ELISA) is an immunodetection method that can quantify PCR product directly after immobilization of biotinylated DNA on a microplate. This method, which detects nucleic acid instead of protein, is a much more sensitive method compared to conventional PCR method, with shorter analytical time and lower detection limit. Its high specificity and sensitivity, together with its semiquantitative ability, give it a huge potential to serve as a powerful detection tool in various industries such as medical, veterinary, and agricultural industries. With the recent advances in PCR-ELISA, it is envisaged that the assay is more widely recognized for its fast and sensitive detection limit which could improve overall diagnostic time and quality.
doi:10.1155/2014/653014
PMCID: PMC4058250  PMID: 24971343
16.  Cytotoxic effect of magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles synthesized via seaweed aqueous extract 
Magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (Fe3O4 MNPs) are among the most useful metal nanoparticles for multiple applications across a broad spectrum in the biomedical field, including the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. In previous work, we synthesized and characterized Fe3O4 MNPs using a simple, rapid, safe, efficient, one-step green method involving reduction of ferric chloride solution using brown seaweed (Sargassum muticum) aqueous extract containing hydroxyl, carboxyl, and amino functional groups mainly relevant to polysaccharides, which acts as a potential stabilizer and metal reductant agent. The aim of this study was to evaluate the in vitro cytotoxic activity and cellular effects of these Fe3O4 MNPs. Their in vitro anticancer activity was demonstrated in human cell lines for leukemia (Jurkat cells), breast cancer (MCF-7 cells), cervical cancer (HeLa cells), and liver cancer (HepG2 cells). The cancer cells were treated with different concentrations of Fe3O4 MNPs, and an MTT (3-[4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2,5 diphenyl tetrazolium bromide) assay was used to test for cytotoxicity, resulting in an inhibitory concentration 50 (IC50) value of 23.83±1.1 μg/mL (HepG2), 18.75±2.1 μg/mL (MCF-7), 12.5±1.7 μg/mL (HeLa), and 6.4±2.3 μg/mL (Jurkat) 72 hours after treatment. Therefore, Jurkat cells were selected for further investigation. The representative dot plots from flow cytometric analysis of apoptosis showed that the percentages of cells in early apoptosis and late apoptosis were increased. Cell cycle analysis showed a significant increase in accumulation of Fe3O4 MNP-treated cells at sub-G1 phase, confirming induction of apoptosis by Fe3O4 MNPs. The Fe3O4 MNPs also activated caspase-3 and caspase-9 in a time-response fashion. The nature of the biosynthesis and therapeutic potential of Fe3O4 MNPs could pave the way for further research on the green synthesis of therapeutic agents, particularly in nanomedicine, to assist in the treatment of cancer.
doi:10.2147/IJN.S59661
PMCID: PMC4038451  PMID: 24899805
green synthesis; seaweed water extract; anticancer effect; apoptosis
17.  Immunomodulatory effects of Potentilla indica and Dendrophthoe pentandra on mice splenocytes and thymocytes 
Immunomodulators are agents that are able to stimulate or inhibit the immune response. The leaf extracts from Potentilla indica and Dendrophthoe pentandra were analyzed in vitro for immunomodulatory activity and an MTT colorimetric assay was conducted to determine the proliferation of mice splenocytes and thymocytes. A bromodeoxyuridine assay was performed to analyze DNA synthesis and the Trypan blue exclusion method was conducted to evaluate the changes in total cell population. The results indicated that treatment with P. indica and D. pentandra produced a time- and dose-dependent increase in cell viability and proliferation. Following 72 h of treatment with P. indica and D. pentandra, thymocyte proliferation was augmented by 18 and 41%, respectively and splenocyte proliferation increased by 35 and 42%, respectively, when compared with untreated cells. The present study demonstrated that these extracts may act as potential immunostimulants and, thus, represent an alternative source of immunomodulatory compounds for the treatment of human immune-mediated diseases.
doi:10.3892/etm.2014.1657
PMCID: PMC4043603  PMID: 24926376
immunomodulatory; Rosaceae; mistletoe; bromodeoxyuridine assay; MTT; spleen; thymus
18.  Damnacanthal is a potent inducer of apoptosis with anticancer activity by stimulating p53 and p21 genes in MCF-7 breast cancer cells 
Oncology Letters  2014;7(5):1479-1484.
Damnacanthal, an anthraquinone compound, is isolated from the roots of Morinda citrifolia L. (noni), which has been used for traditional therapy in several chronic diseases, including cancer. Although noni has long been consumed in Asian and Polynesian countries, the molecular mechanisms by which it exerts several benefits are starting to emerge. In the present study, the effect of damnacanthal on MCF-7 cell growth regulation was investigated. Treatment of MCF-7 cells with damnacanthal for 72 h indicated an antiproliferative activity. The MTT method confirmed that damnacanthal inhibited the growth of MCF-7 cells at the concentration of 8.2 μg/ml for 72 h. In addition, the drug was found to induce cell cycle arrest at the G1 checkpoint in MCF-7 cells by cell cycle analysis. Damnacanthal induced apoptosis, determined by Annexin V-fluorescein isothiocyanate/propidium iodide (PI) dual-labeling, acridine-orange/PI dyeing and caspase-7 expression. Furthermore, damnacanthal-mediated apoptosis involves the sustained activation of p21, leading to the transcription of p53 and the Bax gene. Overall, the present study provided significant evidence demonstrating that p53-mediated damnacanthal induced apoptosis through the activation of p21 and caspase-7.
doi:10.3892/ol.2014.1898
PMCID: PMC3997671  PMID: 24765160
damnacanthal; MCF-7; anticancer; caspase; p53; p21; apoptosis
19.  Vitamin C suppresses cell death in MCF-7 human breast cancer cells induced by tamoxifen 
Vitamin C is generally thought to enhance immunity and is widely taken as a supplement especially during cancer treatment. Tamoxifen (TAM) has both cytostatic and cytotoxic properties for breast cancer. TAM engaged mitochondrial oestrogen receptor beta in MCF-7 cells and induces apoptosis by activation of pro-caspase-8 followed by downstream events, including an increase in reactive oxygen species and the release of pro-apoptotic factors from the mitochondria. In addition to that, TAM binds with high affinity to the microsomal anti-oestrogen-binding site and inhibits cholesterol esterification at therapeutic doses. This study aimed to investigate the role of vitamin C in TAM-mediated apoptosis. Cells were loaded with vitamin C by exposure to dehydroascorbic acid, thereby circumventing in vitro artefacts associated with the poor transport and pro-oxidant effects of ascorbic acid. Pre-treatment with vitamin C caused a dose-dependent attenuation of cytotoxicity, as measured by acridine-orange/propidium iodide (AO/PI) and Annexin V assay after treatment with TAM. Vitamin C dose-dependently protected cancer cells against lipid peroxidation caused by TAM treatment. By real-time PCR analysis, an impressive increase in FasL and tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) mRNA was detected after TAM treatment. In addition, a decrease in mitochondrial transmembrane potential was observed. These results support the hypothesis that vitamin C supplementation during cancer treatment may detrimentally affect therapeutic response.
doi:10.1111/jcmm.12188
PMCID: PMC3930417  PMID: 24266867
vitamin C; tamoxifen; breast cancer; ROS; free radical; apoptosis; lipid peroxidation
20.  Zerumbone-loaded nanostructured lipid carrier induces G2/M cell cycle arrest and apoptosis via mitochondrial pathway in a human lymphoblastic leukemia cell line 
This investigation evaluated the antileukemia properties of a zerumbone (ZER)-loaded nanostructured lipid carrier (NLC) prepared by hot high-pressure homogenization techniques in an acute human lymphoblastic leukemia (Jurkat) cell line in vitro. The apoptogenic effect of the ZER-NLC on Jurkat cells was determined by fluorescent and electron microscopy, Annexin V-fluorescein isothiocyanate, Tdt-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling assay, cell cycle analysis, and caspase activity. An MTT (3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5 diphenyltetrazolium bromide) assay showed that ZER-NLC did not have adverse effects on normal human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. ZER-NLC arrested the Jurkat cells at G2/M phase with inactivation of cyclin B1 protein. The study also showed that the antiproliferative effect of ZER-NLC on Jurkat cells is through the intrinsic apoptotic pathway via activation of caspase-3 and caspase-9, release of cytochrome c from the mitochondria into the cytosol, and subsequent cleavage of poly (adenosine diphosphate-ribose) polymerase (PARP). These findings show that the ZER-NLC is a potentially useful treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia in humans.
doi:10.2147/IJN.S54346
PMCID: PMC3897324  PMID: 24549090
zerumbone-loaded nanostructured lipid carrier; cell cycle arrest; apoptosis; mitochondrial pathway
21.  Immunomodulatory Effects of Newcastle Disease Virus AF2240 Strain on Human Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells 
Immunotherapy has raised the attention of many scientists because it hold promise to be an attractive therapeutic strategy to treat a number of disorders. In this study, the immunomodulatory effects of low titers of Newcastle disease virus (NDV) AF2240 on human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were analyzed. We evaluated cytokine secretion and PBMC activation by cell proliferation assay, immunophenotyping and enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. The proliferation of the human PBMC was measured to be 28.5% and 36.5% upon treatment with 8 hemaglutinin unit (HAU) and 2 HAU of NDV respectively. Interestingly, the percentage of cells with activating markers CD16 and CD56 were increased significantly. Furthermore, the intracellular perforin and granzyme levels were also increased upon virus infection. Human PBMC treated with NDV titer 8 HAU was found to stimulate the highest level of cytokine production including interferon-γ, interleukin-2 and interleukin-12. The release of these proteins contributes to the antitumor effect of PBMC against MCF-7 breast cancer cells. Based on the 3-(4, 5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2, 5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide assay, activated human PBMC showed high cytolytic efficiency towards human breast tumor cells. In summary, NDV was able to stimulate PBMC proliferation, cytokine secretion and cytolytic activity.
doi:10.7150/ijms.8170
PMCID: PMC4196125  PMID: 25317070
Newcastle disease virus; AF2240; immunomodulation; PBMC; breast cancer; immunophenotyping
22.  The flavokawains: uprising medicinal chalcones 
Plant-based compounds have been in the spotlight in search of new and promising drugs. Flavokawain A, B and C are naturally occurring chalcones that have been isolated from several medicinal plants; namely the piper methysticum or commercially known as the kava-kava. Multiple researches have been done to evaluate the bioactivities of these compounds. It has been shown that all three flavokawains may hold promising anti-cancer effects. It has also been revealed that both flavokawain A and B are involved in the induction of cell cycle arrest in several cancer cell lines. Nevertheless, flavokawain B was shown to be more effective in treating in vitro cancer cell lines as compared to flavokawain A and C. Flavokawain B also exerts antinociceptive effects as well as anti-inflammation properties. This mini-review attempts to discuss the biological properties of all the flavokawains that have been reported.
doi:10.1186/1475-2867-13-102
PMCID: PMC4015927  PMID: 24148263
Anti-cancer; Anti-inflammation; Apoptosis; Flavokawain; Kava-kava
23.  Hepatoprotective Effect of Fermented Soybean (Nutrient Enriched Soybean Tempeh) against Alcohol-Induced Liver Damage in Mice 
Recently, soybean tempeh has received great attention due to many advantages such as higher nutritional value, lower production cost, and shorter fermentation time. In this study, the in vivo hepatoprotective and antioxidant effects of nutrient enriched soybean tempeh (NESTE) were determined. NESTE fermentation process which involved anaerobic incubation was previously proclaimed to increase the content of amino acids and antioxidant properties remarkably. The evaluation of histological sections, serum biochemical markers (aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), and cholesterol and triglycerides (TG)), liver immune response level (nitric oxide (NO)) and liver antioxidant level (superoxide dismutase (SOD), ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP), and malondialdehyde (MDA)) was conducted in order to compare the effects of nonfermented soybean extract (SBE) and fermented soybean extract (NESTE) on alcohol-induced liver damage in mice. Results demonstrated that 1000 mg/kg of NESTE can significantly reduce the levels of AST, ALT, cholesterol, TG, MDA, and NO. On the other hand, it also raised the level of SOD and FRAP. Furthermore, the histological examination on 1000 mg/kg NESTE treatment group showed that this extract was capable of recovering the damaged hepatocytes to their normal structures. Thus, it can be concluded that NESTE produced through fermentation process was able to enhance hepatoprotective and antioxidant effects in vivo.
doi:10.1155/2013/274274
PMCID: PMC3766609  PMID: 24058369
24.  Zerumbone-loaded nanostructured lipid carriers: preparation, characterization, and antileukemic effect 
Zerumbone, a natural dietary lipophilic compound with low water solubility (1.296 mg/L at 25°C) was used in this investigation. The zerumbone was loaded into nanostructured lipid carriers using a hot, high-pressure homogenization technique. The physicochemical properties of the zerumbone-loaded nanostructured lipid carriers (ZER-NLC) were determined. The ZER-NLC particles had an average size of 52.68 ± 0.1 nm and a polydispersity index of 0.29 ± 0.004 μm. Transmission electron microscopy showed that the particles were spherical in shape. The zeta potential of the ZER-NLC was −25.03 ± 1.24 mV, entrapment efficiency was 99.03%, and drug loading was 7.92%. In vitro drug release of zerumbone from ZER-NLC was 46.7%, and for a pure zerumbone dispersion was 90.5% over 48 hours, following a zero equation. Using the MTT (3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide) assay in human T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Jurkat) cells, the half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) of ZER-NLC was 5.64 ± 0.38 μg/mL, and for free zerumbone was 5.39 ± 0.43 μg/mL after 72 hours of treatment. This study strongly suggests that ZER-NLC have potential as a sustained-release drug carrier system for the treatment of leukemia.
doi:10.2147/IJN.S45313
PMCID: PMC3739459  PMID: 23946649
zerumbone; nanostructured lipid carrier; leukemia
25.  Rhaphidophora korthalsii modulates peripheral blood natural killer cell proliferation, cytokine secretion and cytotoxicity 
Background
Rhaphidophora korthalsii (Araceae) is a root-climber plant which has been widely used in Chinese traditional medicine for cancer and skin disease treatment. Previous reports have recorded its immunomodulatory effects on mice splenocyte and human peripheral blood. This study investigated the potential immunostimulatory effect of Rhaphidophora korthalsii on human PBMC enriched NK cell.
Methods
PBMC was exposed to various concentrations of R. korthalsii extract and the T and NK cell population in the control and extract treated PBMC were identified by immunophenotyping. Intracellular perforin and granzyme B expressions were detected by flow cytometry and extra-cellular Granzyme B, IFN-γ and TNF-α production in the isolated NK cells were determined by ELISA. The cytotoxicity of effector NK cell towards target K562 cell was assessed by CytoTox 96 assay.
Results
Rhaphidophora korthalsii methanol extract significantly increased PBMC NK cell population and intracellular perforin and granzyme B expressions. Moreover, the extract also enhanced the secretion of IFN-γ and TNF-α which subsequently enhanced the cytotoxicity of NK cell against the NK sensitive target K562 cell line. NK cell enriched with extract treated PBMC showed better activation than NK cell directly treated with the extract.
Conclusion
Our findings indicated a potential IL-2 free immunotherapy through direct and indirect R. korthalsii stimulation on NK cell activation.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-145
PMCID: PMC3701493  PMID: 23800124
Rhaphidophora korthalsii; NK cell; Immunomodulation

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