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1.  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
2.  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
3.  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
4.  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
5.  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
6.  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
7.  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
8.  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
9.  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
10.  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
11.  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
12.  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
13.  Influence of Mast Cells in Drug-Induced Gingival Overgrowth 
Mediators of Inflammation  2013;2013:275172.
Mast cells (MCs) are multifunctional effector cells that were originally thought to be involved in allergic disorders. Now it is known that they contain an array of mediators with a multitude of effects on many other cells. MCs have become a recent concern in drug-induced gingival overgrowth (DIGO), an unwanted outcome of systemic medication. Most of the studies have confirmed the significant presence of inflammation as a prerequisite for the overgrowth to occur. The inflammatory changes within the gingival tissue appear to influence the interaction between the inducing drug and the fibroblast activity. The development of antibodies to MC-specific enzymes, tryptase and chymase, has facilitated the study of mast cells in DIGO. Many immunohistochemical studies involving MCs have been conducted; as a result, DIGO tissues are found to have increased the number of MCs in the gingiva, especially in the area of fibrosis. At the cellular level, gingival fibrogenesis is initiated by several mediators which induce the recruitment of a large number of inflammatory cells, including MCs. The purpose of this paper is to access the roles played by MCs in gingival overgrowth to hypothesize a relationship between these highly specialized cells in the pathogenesis of DIGO.
doi:10.1155/2013/275172
PMCID: PMC3569901  PMID: 23431239
14.  Antioxidant and Hepatoprotective Effect of Aqueous Extract of Germinated and Fermented Mung Bean on Ethanol-Mediated Liver Damage 
BioMed Research International  2012;2013:693613.
Mung bean is a hepatoprotective agent in dietary supplements. Fermentation and germination processes are well recognized to enhance the nutritional values especially the concentration of active compounds such as amino acids and GABA of various foods. In this study, antioxidant and hepatoprotective effects of freeze-dried mung bean and amino-acid- and GABA-enriched germinated and fermented mung bean aqueous extracts were compared. Liver superoxide dismutase (SOD), malondialdehyde (MDA), ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP), nitric oxide (NO) levels, and serum biochemical profile such as aspartate transaminase (AST), alanine transaminase (ALT), triglycerides (TG), and cholesterol and histopathological changes were examined for the antioxidant and hepatoprotective effects of these treatments. Germinated and fermented mung bean have recorded an increase of 27.9 and 7.3 times of GABA and 8.7 and 13.2 times of amino acid improvement, respectively, as compared to normal mung bean. Besides, improvement of antioxidant levels, serum markers, and NO level associated with better histopathological evaluation indicated that these extracts could promote effective recovery from hepatocyte damage. These results suggested that freeze-dried, germinated, and fermented mung bean aqueous extracts enriched with amino acids and GABA possessed better hepatoprotective effect as compared to normal mung bean.
doi:10.1155/2013/693613
PMCID: PMC3591205  PMID: 23484140
15.  The Promising Future of Chia, Salvia hispanica L. 
With increasing public health awareness worldwide, demand for functional food with multiple health benefits has also increased. The use of medicinal food from folk medicine to prevent diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular problems is now gaining momentum among the public. Seed from Salvia hispanica L. or more commonly known as chia is a traditional food in central and southern America. Currently, it is widely consumed for various health benefits especially in maintaining healthy serum lipid level. This effect is contributed by the presence of phenolic acid and omega 3/6 oil in the chia seed. Although the presence of active ingredients in chia seed warrants its health benefits, however, the safety and efficacy of this medicinal food or natural product need to be validated by scientific research. In vivo and clinical studies on the safety and efficacy of chia seed are still limited. This paper covers the up-to-date research on the identified active ingredients, methods for oil extraction, and in vivo and human trials on the health benefit of chia seed, and its current market potential.
doi:10.1155/2012/171956
PMCID: PMC3518271  PMID: 23251075
16.  Establishment of an In Vitro System Representing the Chicken Gut-Associated Lymphoid Tissue 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e49188.
The bursa of Fabricius is critical for B cell development and differentiation in chick embryos. This study describes the production in vitro, from dissociated cell suspensions, of cellular agglomerates with functional similarities to the chicken bursa. Co-cultivation of epithelial and lymphoid cells obtained from embryos at the appropriate developmental stage regularly led to agglomerate formation within 48 hours. These agglomerates resembled bursal tissue in having lymphoid clusters overlaid by well organized epithelium. Whereas lymphocytes within agglomerates were predominantly Bu-1a+, a majority of those emigrating onto the supporting membrane were Bu-1a− and IgM+. Both agglomerates and emigrant cells expressed activation-induced deaminase with levels increasing after 24 hours. Emigrating cells were actively proliferating at a rate in excess of both the starting cell population and the population of cells remaining in agglomerates. The potential usefulness of this system for investigating the response of bursal tissue to avian Newcastle disease virus (strain AF2240) was examined.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0049188
PMCID: PMC3501491  PMID: 23185307
17.  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
18.  Betulinic Acid Inhibits Growth of Cultured Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells In Vitro by Inducing G1 Arrest and Apoptosis 
Betulinic acid is a widely available plant-derived triterpene which is reported to possess selective cytotoxic activity against cancer cells of neuroectodermal origin and leukemia. However, the potential of betulinic acid as an antiproliferative and cytotoxic agent on vascular smooth muscle (VSMC) is still unclear. This study was carried out to demonstrate the antiproliferative and cytotoxic effect of betulinic acid on VSMCs using 3-[4,5-dimethylthizol-2-yl]-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay, flow cytometry cell cycle assay, BrdU proliferation assay, acridine orange/propidium iodide staining, and comet assay. Result from MTT and BrdU assays indicated that betulinic acid was able to inhibit the growth and proliferation of VSMCs in a dose-dependent manner with IC50 of 3.8 μg/mL significantly (P < 0.05). Nevertheless, betulinic acid exhibited G1 cell cycle arrest in flow cytometry cell cycle profiling and low level of DNA damage against VSMC in acridine orange/propidium iodide and comet assay after 24 h of treatment. In conclusion, betulinic acid induced G1 cell cycle arrest and dose-dependent DNA damage on VSMC.
doi:10.1155/2012/251362
PMCID: PMC3463985  PMID: 23056140
19.  Development of Multicellular Tumor Spheroid (MCTS) Culture from Breast Cancer Cell and a High Throughput Screening Method Using the MTT Assay 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e44640.
In comparison to monolayer cells, MCTS has been claimed as more suitable candidate for studying drug penetration due to the high resemblance to solid tumors. However, the cultivation of MCTS is cumbersome, time consuming, and most technique fail to generate spheroids with uniform sizes. Therefore, the application of spheroid cultures in high throughput screening has been rather limiting. Besides, the lack of a well established screening protocol method that is applicable to spheroid could also be attributed to this limitation. Here we report a simple way of cultivating homogenous MCTS cultures with compact and rigid structure from the MCF-7 cells. Besides, we had also made some modifications to the standard MTT assay to realize high throughput screening of these spheroids. Using the modified protocol, tamoxifen showed cytotoxicity effect towards MCTS cultures from MCF-7 with high consistency. The results correlated well with the cultures’ response assessed by LDH release assay but the latter assay was not ideal for detecting a wide range of cytotoxicity due to high basal background reading. The MTT assay emerged as a better indicator to apoptosis event in comparison to the LDH release assay. Therefore, the method for spheroid generation and the modified MTT assay we reported here could be potentially applied to high throughput screening for response of spheroid cultures generated from MCF-7 as well as other cancer cell lines towards cytotoxic stimuli.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0044640
PMCID: PMC3435305  PMID: 22970274
20.  Hepatoprotective Activity of Elephantopus scaber on Alcohol-Induced Liver Damage in Mice 
Elephantopus scaber has been traditionally used as liver tonic. However, the protective effect of E. scaber on ethanol-induced liver damage is still unclear. In this study, we have compared the in vivo hepatoprotective effect of E. scaber with Phyllanthus niruri on the ethanol-induced liver damage in mice. The total phenolic and total flavanoid content of E. scaber ethanol extract were determined in this study. Accelerating serum biochemical profiles (including AST, ALT, ALP, triglyceride, and total bilirubin) associated with fat drop and necrotic body in the liver section were observed in the mice treated with ethanol. Low concentration of E. scaber was able to reduce serum biochemical profiles and the fat accumulation in the liver. Furthermore, high concentration of E. scaber and positive control P. niruri were able to revert the liver damage, which is comparable to the normal control. Added to this, E. scaber did not possess any oral acute toxicity on mice. These results suggest the potential effect of this extract as a hepatoprotective agent towards-ethanol induced liver damage without any oral acute toxicity effect. These activities might be contributed, or at least in part, by its high total phenolic and flavonoid contents.
doi:10.1155/2012/417953
PMCID: PMC3437691  PMID: 22973401
21.  In vitro evaluation of Pandanus amaryllifolius ethanol extract for induction of cell death on non-hormone dependent human breast adenocarcinoma MDA-MB-231 cell via apoptosis 
Background
Our previous study had shown that P. amaryllifolius was able to selectively inhibit cell proliferation of hormone independent breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231. To understand the mode of killing and mechanism of action for P. amaryllifolius, the ethanol extract was evaluated for their alteration of cell cycle progression, PS externalization, DNA fragmentation and expression of anti/pro-apoptotic related protein.
Results
Cell cycle progression analysis, Annexin V and Tunel assays suggested that IC50 of P. amaryllifolius ethanol extract induced G0/G1 cell cycle arrest, PS externalization and DNA fragmentation. On the other hand, ELISA for cytochrome c, caspase-3/7, 8 and 9 indicated that apoptosis was contributed by mitochondrial cytochrome c release via induction of caspase 3/7, 9, and p53 was associated with the suppression of XIAP in P. amaryllifolius treated MDA-MB-231 cells.
Conclusion
Our findings suggest that P. amaryllifolius ethanol extract induced apoptosis on hormone independent breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-134
PMCID: PMC3479033  PMID: 22909149
Pandanus amaryllifolius; MDA-MB-231; Apoptosis; Cytochrome c; Caspase
22.  In Vitro and In Vivo Toxicity of Garcinia or Hydroxycitric Acid: A Review 
Obesity is one of the pandemic chronic diseases commonly associated with health disorders such as heart attack, high blood pressure, diabetes or even cancer. Among the current natural products for obesity and weight control, Garcinia or more specifically hydroxycitric acid (HCA) extracted from Garcinia has been widely used. The evaluation of the potential toxicity of weight control supplement is of the utmost importance as it requires long term continuous consumption in order to maintain its effects. Majority of reports demonstrated the efficacy of Garcinia/HCA without any toxicity found. However, a few clinical toxicity reports on weight-loss diet supplements of which some were combinations that included Garcinia/HCA as an active ingredient showed potential toxicity towards spermatogenesis. Nonetheless, it cannot be concluded that Garcinia/HCA is unsafe. Those products which have been reported to possess adverse effects are either polyherbal or multi-component in nature. To date, there is no case study or report showing the direct adverse effect of HCA. The structure, mechanism of action, long history of the use of Garcinia/HCA and comprehensive scientific evidence had shown “no observed adverse effect level (NOAEL)” at levels up to 2800 mg/day, suggesting its safety for use.
doi:10.1155/2012/197920
PMCID: PMC3424601  PMID: 22924054
23.  Co-administration of avian influenza virus H5 plasmid DNA with chicken IL-15 and IL-18 enhanced chickens immune responses 
Background
DNA vaccines offer several advantages over conventional vaccines in the development of effective vaccines against avian influenza virus (AIV). However, one of the limitations of the DNA vaccine in poultry is that it induces poor immune responses. In this study, chicken interleukin (IL) -15 and IL-18 were used as genetic adjuvants to improve the immune responses induced from the H5 DNA vaccination in chickens. The immunogenicity of the recombinant plasmid DNA was analyzed based on the antibody production, T cell responses and cytokine production, following inoculation in 1-day-old (Trial 1) and 14-day-old (Trial 2) specific-pathogen-free chickens. Hence, the purpose of the present study was to explore the role of chicken IL-15 and IL-18 as adjuvants following the vaccination of chickens with the H5 DNA vaccine.
Results
The overall HI antibody titer in chickens immunized with pDis/H5 + pDis/IL-15 was higher compared to chickens immunized with pDis/H5 (p < 0.05). The findings revealed that the inoculation of the 14-day-old chickens exhibited a shorter time to achieve the highest HI titer in comparison to the inoculation of the 1-day-old chickens. The cellular immunity was assessed by the flow cytometry analysis to enumerate CD4+ and CD8 + T cells in the peripheral blood. The chickens inoculated with pDis/H5 + pDis/IL-15 demonstrated the highest increase in CD4+ T cells population relative to the control chickens. However, this study revealed that pDis/H5 + pDis/IL-15 was not significant (P > 0.05) in inducing CD8+ T cells. Meanwhile, with the exception of Trial 1, the flow cytometry results for Trial 2 demonstrated that the pDis/H5 + pDis/IL-18 inoculated group was able to trigger a higher increase in CD4+ T cells than the pDis/H5 group (P < 0.05). On the other hand, the pDis/H5 + pDis/IL-18 group was not significant (P > 0.05) in modulating CD8+ T cells population in both trials. The pDis/H5 + pDis/IL-15 inoculated group showed the highest IL-15 gene expression in both trials compared to other inoculated groups (P < 0.05). Similar results were obtained for the IL-18 expression where the pDis/H5 + pDis/IL-18 groups in both trials (Table 8) were significantly higher compared to the control group (P < 0.05). However, the expressions of other cytokines remained low or undetected by GeXP assay.
Conclusions
This study shows the diverse immunogenicity of pDis/H5 co-administered with chicken IL-15 and IL-18,with pDis/H5 + pDis/IL-15 being a better vaccine candidate compared to other groups.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-132
PMCID: PMC3511295  PMID: 22866758
Avian influenza virus; DNA vaccine; H5; IL-15; IL-18; CD4+ T cells; CD8+ T cells
24.  In vitro cytotoxicity of Strobilanthes crispus ethanol extract on hormone dependent human breast adenocarcinoma MCF-7 cell 
Background
Strobilanthes crispus has been traditionally used as antidiabetic, anticancer, diuretic, antilytic and laxative agent. However, cytotoxicity and antiproliferative effect of S. crispus is still unclear.
Results
Strobilanthes cripus was able to reduce cell viability and proliferation in MTT and BrdU assays. Both cell cycle progression and Tunel assay suggested that IC50 of S. crispus ethanol extract induced sub-G1 cell cycle phase, and DNA fragmentation. On the other hand, translocation of mitochondria cytochrome c release, induction of caspase 3/7 and p53 while suppress XIAP on treated MCF-7 cell were also observed in this study.
Conclusion
Our findings suggest that S. crispus ethanol extract induced apoptosis and DNA fragmentation on hormone dependent breast cancer cell line MCF-7 via mitochondria dependent p53 apoptosis pathway.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-35
PMCID: PMC3377542  PMID: 22471785
Strobilanthes crispus; MCF-7; Apoptosis; p53
25.  scFv Antibody: Principles and Clinical Application 
To date, generation of single-chain fragment variable (scFv) has become an established technique used to produce a completely functional antigen-binding fragment in bacterial systems. The advances in antibody engineering have now facilitated a more efficient and generally applicable method to produce Fv fragments. Basically, scFv antibodies produced from phage display can be genetically fused to the marker proteins, such as fluorescent proteins or alkaline phosphatase. These bifunctional proteins having both antigen-binding capacity and marker activity can be obtained from transformed bacteria and used for one-step immunodetection of biological agents. Alternatively, antibody fragments could also be applied in the construction of immunotoxins, therapeutic gene delivery, and anticancer intrabodies for therapeutic purposes. This paper provides an overview of the current studies on the principle, generation, and application of scFv. The potential of scFv in breast cancer research is also discussed in this paper.
doi:10.1155/2012/980250
PMCID: PMC3312285  PMID: 22474489

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