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1.  In vitro antitumor actions of extracts from endemic plant Helichrysum zivojinii 
Background
The aim of this research was to determine the intensity and mechanisms of the cytotoxic actions of five extracts isolated from the endemic plant species Helichrysum zivojinii Černjavski & Soška (family Asteraceae) against specific cancer cell lines. In order to evaluate the sensitivity of normal immunocompetent cells implicated in the antitumor immune response, the cytotoxicity of extracts was also tested against healthy peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC).
Methods
The aerial parts of the plants were air-dried, powdered, and successively extracted with solvents of increasing polarity to obtain hexane, dichloromethane, ethyl-acetate, n-butanol and methanol extracts. The cytotoxic activities of the extracts against human cervix adenocarcinoma HeLa, human melanoma Fem-x, human myelogenous leukemia K562, human breast adenocarcinoma MDA-MB-361 cells and PBMC were evaluated by the MTT test. The mode of HeLa cell death was investigated by morphological analysis. Changes in the cell cycle of HeLa cells treated with the extracts were analyzed by flow cytometry. The apoptotic mechanisms induced by the tested extracts were determined using specific caspase inhibitors.
Results
The investigated Helichrysum zivojinii extracts exerted selective dose-dependent cytotoxic actions against selected cancer cell lines and healthy immunocompetent PBMC stimulated to proliferate, while the cytotoxic actions exerted on unstimulated PBMC were less pronounced. The tested extracts exhibited considerably stronger cytotoxic activities towards HeLa, Fem-x and K562 cells in comparison to resting and stimulated PBMC. It is worth noting that the cytotoxicity of the extracts was weaker against unstimulated PBMC in comparison to stimulated PBMC. Furthermore, each of the five extracts induced apoptosis in HeLa cells, through the activation of both intrinsic and extrinsic signaling pathways.
Conclusion
Extracts obtained from the endemic plant Helichrysum zivojinii may represent an important source of novel potential antitumor agents due to their pronounced and selective cytotoxic actions towards malignant cells.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-36
PMCID: PMC3585823  PMID: 23414290
Helichrysum zivojinii; Cytotoxicity; Cancer cells; Peripheral blood mononuclear cells; Apoptosis
2.  Serum activity of DPPIV and its expression on lymphocytes in patients with melanoma and in people with vitiligo 
BMC Immunology  2012;13:48.
Background
Dipeptidyl peptidase IV, a multifunctional serine protease, is implicated in regulation of malignant transformation, promotion and further progression of cancer, exerting tumor-suppressing or even completely opposite - tumor-promoting activities.
The aim of present research was to determine the serum DPPIV activity, as well as the percentages of CD26+ lymphocytes, CD26+ overall white blood cells and the mean fluorescence intensity of CD26 expression on lymphocytes in patients with melanoma, people with vitiligo and in healthy controls.
Methods
The activity of DPPIV in serum was determined by colorimetric test. Expression of DPPIV (as CD26) on immunocompetent peripheral white blood cells was done using flow cytometry analysis.
Results
Data from our study show for the first time statistically significant decrease: in the serum DPPIV activity, in the percentage of CD26+ overall white blood cells and in the percentage of lymphocytes in patients with melanoma in comparison to healthy control people. In addition, significantly lower serum DPPIV activity was found in the group of patients with melanoma in relation to people with vitiligo too.
Conclusion
This study indicates the need for exploring the cause and the importance of the disturbances in the serum DPPIV activity and in the CD26 expression on immunocompetent cells in complex molecular mechanisms underlying the development and progression of melanoma.
doi:10.1186/1471-2172-13-48
PMCID: PMC3464610  PMID: 22908963
CD26 expression; DPPIV serum activity; Melanoma; Vitiligo
3.  Immunity to melanin and to tyrosinase in melanoma patients, and in people with vitiligo 
Background
The aim of this study was to determine the presence and the intensity of humoral immunity to melanoma-associated antigens: tyrosinase and melanin, in patients with melanoma, in persons with vitiligo and in control healthy people.
Methods
The study involved 63 patients with melanoma and 19 persons with vitiligo. Control group consisted up to 41 healthy volunteers. Mushroom tyrosinase and synthetic melanin were used as the antigens.
Results
ELISA test showed significantly (p < 0.0000004 and p < 0.04) lower levels of IgM anti-tyrosinase autoantibodies, in melanoma and vitiligo patients respectively, compared to controls.
Although there was no significant difference between the levels of IgA anti-melanin autoantibodies in melanoma or vitiligo patients in comparison with controls, the enhanced concentrations of anti-melanin IgA autoantibodies were preferentially found in melanoma patients with metastatic disease. Significantly high percentage in the Fc alphaRI (CD89) positive cells was determined in melanoma patients (p < 0.002 and p < 0.008) in comparison to that found in healthy people or in patients with vitiligo, in the already mentioned order, pointing that IgA dependent cellular cytotoxicity is not important for the immune action against melanoma, even more that it is included in some immune suppression.
Levels of IgG autoantibodies to mentioned antigens in melanoma patients although low were not significantly lower from controls. These findings analyzed together with the statistically significant low percentage of FcgammaRIII, (CD16) positive immunocompetent cells (p < 0.0007 and p < 0.003), which was found in patients with melanoma compared with healthy or vitiligo people respectively, and statistically significant low percentage of (CD16 + CD56+) natural killer (NK) cells (p < 0.005) found in melanoma patients in comparison to healthy controls pointed to the low probability for anti-melanoma IgG mediated, antibody mediated cellular cytotoxicity, (ADCC) and NK cytotoxicity. Moreover the ratio of the percentages of granulocytes and percentage of lymphocytes was statistically higher in patients with melanoma in relation to healthy people as well as to people with vitiligo (p < 0.0007 and p < 0.05 respectively).
Conclusion
Autoantibodies to tyrosinase and to melanin which are found even in healthy people, point that consummation of edible mushrooms that carry the antigen tyrosinase and melanin, could influence the humoral anti-melanoma immune response.
Levels of different immunoglobulin classes of anti-melanin and anti-tyrosinase antibodies varied depending on the presence and the stage of studied diseases. Besides, the statistically enhanced ratio of the percentages of granulocytes and percentage of lymphocytes, together with statistically decreased percentage of NK cells is found in analyzed melanoma patients.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-109
PMCID: PMC3457868  PMID: 22834951
Melanin; Tyrosinase; Melanoma; Vitiligo; Anti-tyrosinase antibodies; Anti-melanin antibodies; CD16+ CD56+; CD89+

Results 1-3 (3)