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1.  Induction of apoptosis through oxidative stress-related pathways in MCF-7, human breast cancer cells, by ethyl acetate extract of Dillenia suffruticosa 
Background
Breast cancer is one of the most dreading types of cancer among women. Herbal medicine has becoming a potential source of treatment for breast cancer. Herbal plant Dillenia suffruticosa (Griff) Martelli under the family Dilleniaceae has been traditionally used to treat cancerous growth. In this study, the anticancer effect of ethyl acetate extract of D. suffruticosa (EADs) was examined on human breast adenocarcinoma cell line MCF-7 and the molecular pathway involved was elucidated.
Methods
EADs was obtained from the root of D. suffruticosa by using sequential solvent extraction. Cytotoxicity was determined by using MTT assay, mode of cell death by cell cycle analysis and apoptosis induction by Annexin-FITC/PI assay. Morphology changes in cells were observed under inverted light microscope. Involvement of selected genes in the oxidative stress-mediated signaling pathway was explored using multiplex gene expression analysis.
Results
The treatment of EADs caused cytotoxicity to MCF-7 cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner at 24, 48 and 72 hours with IC50 of 76 ± 2.3, 58 ± 0.7 and 39 ± 3.6 μg/mL, respectively. The IC50 of tamoxifen-treated MCF-7 cells was 8 ± 0.5 μg/mL. Induction of apoptosis by EADs was dose- and time- dependent. EADs induced non-phase specific cell cycle arrest at different concentration and time point. The multiplex mRNA expression study indicated that EADs-induced apoptosis was accompanied by upregulation of the expression of SOD1, SOD2, NF-κB, p53, p38 MAPK, and catalase, but downregulation of Akt1.
Conclusion
It is suggested that EADs induced apoptosis in MCF-7 cells by modulating numerous genes which are involved in oxidative stress pathway. Therefore, EADs has the potential to act as an effective intervention against breast cancer cells.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-55
PMCID: PMC3927215  PMID: 24524627
Dillenia suffruticosa; Breast cancer; Cytotoxic; Apoptosis; Oxidative stress pathway
2.  Ethyl acetate extract of germinated brown rice attenuates hydrogen peroxide-induced oxidative stress in human SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells: role of anti-apoptotic, pro-survival and antioxidant genes 
Background
There are reports of improved metabolic outcomes due to consumption of germinated brown rice (GBR). Many of the functional effects of GBR can be linked to its high amounts of antioxidants. Interestingly, dietary components with high antioxidants have shown promise in the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease (AD). This effect of dietary components is mostly based on their ability to prevent apoptosis, which is believed to link oxidative damage to pathological changes in AD. In view of the rich antioxidant content of GBR, we studied its potential to modulate processes leading up to AD.
Methods
The total phenolic content and antioxidant capacity of the ethyl acetate extract of GBR were compared to that of brown rice (BR), and the cytotoxicity of both extracts were determined on human SH-SY5Y neuronal cells using 3-(4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) Assay. Based on its higher antioxidant potentials, the effect of the GBR extract on morphological changes due to hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-induced oxidative damage in human SH-SY5Y neuronal cells was examined using inverted light microscope and fluorescence microscope by means of acridine orange-propidium iodide (AO/PI) staining. Also, evaluation of the transcriptional regulation of antioxidant and apoptotic genes was carried out using Multiplex Gene Expression System.
Results
The ethyl acetate extract of GBR had higher total phenolic content and antioxidant capacity compared to BR. The cytotoxicity results showed that GBR extract did not cause any damage to the human SH-SY5Y neuronal cells at concentrations of up to 20 ppm, and the morphological analyses showed that the GBR extract (up to 10 ppm) prevented H2O2-induced apoptotic changes in the cells. Furthermore, multiplex gene expression analyses showed that the protection of the cells by the GBR extract was linked to its ability to induce transcriptional changes in antioxidant (SOD 1, SOD 2 and catalase) and apoptotic (AKT, NF-Kβ, ERK1/2, JNK, p53 and p38 MAPK) genes that tended towards survival.
Conclusions
Taken together, the results of our study showed that the ethyl acetate extract of GBR, with high antioxidant potentials, could prevent H2O2-induced oxidative damage in SH-SY5Y cells. The potential of GBR and its neuroprotective mechanism in ameliorating oxidative stress-related cytotoxicity is therefore worth exploring further.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-177
PMCID: PMC3726323  PMID: 23866310
Germinated brown rice; Antioxidant; Oxidative stress; Neuroprotective; SH-SY5Y
3.  Germinated brown rice and its bioactives modulate the activity of uterine cells in oophorectomised rats as evidenced by gross cytohistological and immunohistochemical changes 
Background
Germinated brown rice (GBR) is gaining momentum in the area of biomedical research due to its increased use as a nutraceutical for the management of diseases. The effect of GBR on the reproductive organs of oophorectomised rats was studied using the gross, cytological, histological and immunohistochemical changes, with the aim of reducing atrophy and dryness of the genital organs in menopause.
Methods
Experimental rats were divided into eight groups of six rats per group. Groups 1, 2 and 3 (sham-operated (SH), oophorectomised without treatment (OVX) and oophorectomised treated with 0.2 mg/kg oestrogen, respectively) served as the controls. The groups 4,5,6,7 and 8 were treated with 20 mg/kg Remifemin, 200 mg/kg of GBR, ASG, oryzanol and GABA, respectively. All treatments were administered orally, once daily for 8 weeks. Vaginal smear cytology was done at the 7th week on all the rats. The weight and dimensions of the uterus and vagina were determined after sacrifice of the rats. Uterine and vaginal tissues were taken for histology and Immunohistochemical examinations.
Results
GBR and its bioactives treated groups significantly increased the weight and length of both the uterus and the vagina when compared to Oophorectomised non-treated group (OVX-non-treated) (p < 0.05). Significant changes were observed in the ratio of cornified epithelial cells and number of leucocytes in the vaginal cytology between the oophorectomised non-treated and treated groups. There was also an increase in the luminal and glandular epithelial cells activity in the treated compared with the untreated groups histologically. Immunohistochemical staining showed specific proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) in the luminal and glandular epithelium of the treated groups, which was absent in the OVX-non-treated group. GBR improved the length and weight of the uterus and also increased the number of glandular and luminal cells epithelia of the vagina.
Conclusion
GBR and its bioactives could be a potential alternative in improving reproductive system atrophy, dryness and discomfort during menopause.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-198
PMCID: PMC3750460  PMID: 23899096
Germinated brown rice; Menopause; Uterine atrophy; Vagina dryness; Cyto-histology; Immunohistochemistry
4.  Syzygium campanulatum korth methanolic extract inhibits angiogenesis and tumor growth in nude mice 
Background
Syzygium campanulatum Korth (Myrtaceae) is an evergreen shrub rich in phenolics, flavonoid antioxidants, and betulinic acid. This study sought to investigate antiangiogenic and anti-colon cancer effects of S.C. standardized methanolic extract.
Methods
Betulinic acid was isolated from methanolic extract by crystallization and chromatography techniques. S.C. methanolic extract was analyzed by UV-Vis spectrophotometry, FTIR, LC-MS, and HPLC. Antiangiogenic effect was studied on rat aortic rings, matrigel tube formation, cell proliferation and migration, and expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Antitumor effect was studied using a subcutaneous tumor model of HCT 116 colorectal carcinoma cells established in nude mice.
Results
Analysis by HPLC, LC-MS and FTIR confirm presence of betulinic acid in S.C. methanolic extract. Quantitative analysis by HPLC indicates presence of betulinic acid in S.C. extract at 5.42 ± 0.09% (w/w). Antiangiogenesis study showed potent inhibition of microvessels outgrowth in rat aortic rings, and studies on normal and cancer cells did not show any significant cytotoxic effect. Antiangiogenic effect was further confirmed by inhibition of tube formation on matrigel matrix that involves human endothelial cells (IC50 = 17.6 ± 2.9 μg/ml). S.C. extract also inhibited migration of endothelial cells and suppressed expression of VEGF. In vivo antiangiogenic study showed inhibition of new blood vessels in chicken embryo chorioallantoic membrane (CAM), and in vivo antitumor study showed significant inhibition of tumor growth due to reduction of intratumor blood vessels and induction of cell death.
Conclusion
Collectively, our results indicate S. campanulatum as antiangiogenic and antitumor candidate, and a new source of betulinic acid.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-168
PMCID: PMC3717079  PMID: 23842450
5.  Acute toxicity, brine shrimp cytotoxicity, anthelmintic and relaxant potentials of fruits of Rubus fruticosus Agg 
Background
Rubus fruticosus is used in tribal medicine as anthelmintic and an antispasmodic. In the current work, we investigated the anthelmintic and antispasmodic activities of crude methanol extract of fruits of R. fruticosus on scientific grounds. Acute toxicity and brine shrimp cytotoxicity activity of the extract were also performed.
Methods
Acute toxicity study of crude methanol extract of R. fruticosus was performed on mice. In vitro Brine shrimp cytotoxicity assay was performed on shrimps of Artemia salina. In vitro Anthelmintic activity was tested against Raillietina spiralis and Ascaridia galli. Relaxant activities were tested on spontaneous rabbits’ jejunal preparations. Calcium chloride curves were constructed to elucidate possible mode of action of the extract.
Results
LD 50 of the extract for acute toxicity studies was 887.75 ± 9.22 mg/ml. While CC 50 of the extract for Brine shrimps cytotoxicity assay was 13.28 ± 2.47 μg/ml. Test samples of crude methanolic extract of R. fruticosus (Rf.Cr) at concentration 20 mg/ml showed excellent anthelmintic activity against Raillietina spiralis. Anthelmintic activity was 1.37 times of albendazole against the Raillietina spiralis at concentration 40 mg/ml. At higher concentration (40 mg/ml), Rf.Cr has 89. 83% parasiticidal activity. The mean EC50 relaxation activity for spontaneous and KCl-induced contractions was 7.96 ± 0.1 and 6.45 ± 0.29 mg/ml, respectively. EC 50 (Log[Ca++]M) for control calcium chloride curves was −1.75 ± 0.01 vs. EC 50 −1.78 ± 0.06 in the presence of 3.0 mg/ml of Rf.Cr. Similarly, EC 50(Log[Ca++]M) in the absence and presence of verapamil (0.1 μM) were −2.46 ± 0.01 and −1.72 ± 0.02, respectively.
Conclusions
The anthelmintic and relaxant activities explained traditional uses of R. fruticosus on scientific grounds. Relaxant activity follows the inhibition of voltage gated channels. Although the plant extract has cytotoxic effects, yet it is evident from acute toxicity study that it is safe in concentration 100 mg/kg. Further work is required to isolate pharmacologically active compounds.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-138
PMCID: PMC3688410  PMID: 23773797
Rubus fruticosus; Anthelmintic; Ascaridia galli; Raillietina spiralis; Jejunum; Antispasmodic
6.  Antioxidant and relaxant activity of fractions of crude methanol extract and essential oil of Artemisia macrocephala jacquem 
Background
The current work is an attempt to know about additional chemical profile of Artemisia macrocephala. Antioxidant activity is performed as the plant is reported to contain flavonoids, which have antioxidant activity in general. Relaxant activity of fractions of crude methanol extract is performed to know in which fraction(s) the relaxant constituents concentrate as we have already reported that its crude methanol has relaxant activity. Antispasmodic activity of essential oil is also performed as the plant is rich with essential oil.
Methods
Phytochemical profile of the plant is performed. Free radical scavenging activity was performed using 2, 2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH). Relaxation activity tests of fractions and essential oil of Artemisia macrocephala were performed on sections of rabbits’ jejunum. Calcium chloride curves were constructed to investigate the mode of action of plant extracts and its essential oil.
Results
We detected carbohydrates, flavonoids and saponins in A. macrocephala. At concentration 0.005 mg/ml, free radical scavenging activity of ethyl acetate fraction was 121.5 ± 2.02% of ascorbic acid.
n- hexane fraction relaxed spontaneous activity with EC50 0.74 ± 0.04 mg/ml. Essential oil relaxed spontaneous activity with EC50 0.8 ± 0.034 mg/ml. Chloroform and ethylacetate fractions relaxed both spontaneous and KCl-induced contractions suggesting its possible mode through calcium channels. Constructing calcium chloride curves, the test fractions showed a right shift in the EC50. Essential oil at concentration 0.1 mg/ml produced right shift with EC50 (log [Ca++]M) -2.08 ± 0.08 vs. control with EC50 -2.47 ± 0.07. The curve resembled the curves of verapamil, which caused a right shift at 0.1 μM, with EC50 -1.7 ±0.07 vs. control EC50 (log [Ca++]M) -2.45 ± 0.06.
Conclusions
Crude methanol and its fractions (ethyl acetate, chloroform and butanol) are rich sources of antioxidant constituents. The relaxing constituents following calcium channel blocking mechanisms are more concentrated in n-hexane, chloroform and ethyl acetate fractions that warrant isolation.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-96
PMCID: PMC3656809  PMID: 23642022
7.  Hepatoprotective effect of ethanolic extract of Curcuma longa on thioacetamide induced liver cirrhosis in rats 
Background
Hepatology research has focused on developing traditional therapies as pharmacological medicines to treat liver cirrhosis. Thus, this study evaluated mechanisms of the hepatoprotective activity of Curcuma longa rhizome ethanolic extract (CLRE) on thioacetamide-induced liver cirrhosis in rats.
Methods
The hepatoprotective effect of CLRE was measured in a rat model of thioacetamide-induced liver cirrhosis over 8 weeks. Hepatic cytochrome P450 2E1 and serum levels of TGF-β1 and TNF-α were evaluated. Oxidative stress was measured by malondialdehyde, urinary 8-hydroxyguanosine and nitrotyrosine levels. The protective activity of CLRE free-radical scavenging mechanisms were evaluated through antioxidant enzymes. Protein expression of pro-apoptotic Bax and anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 proteins in animal blood sera was studied and confirmed by immunohistochemistry of Bax, Bcl2 proteins and proliferating cell nuclear antigen.
Results
Histopathology, immunohistochemistry and liver biochemistry were significantly lower in the Curcuma longa-treated groups compared with controls. CLRE induced apoptosis, inhibited hepatocytes proliferation but had no effect on hepatic CYP2E1 levels.
Conclusion
The progression of liver cirrhosis could be inhibited by the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of CLRE and the normal status of the liver could be preserved.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-56
PMCID: PMC3605171  PMID: 23496995
Curcuma longa; Antioxidant enzymes; Cytochrome P450 2E1 (CYP2E1); Histology; Oxidative stress; Immunohistochemistry
8.  Murraya koenigii leaf extract inhibits proteasome activity and induces cell death in breast cancer cells 
Background
Inhibition of the proteolytic activity of 26S proteasome, the protein-degrading machine, is now considered a novel and promising approach for cancer therapy. Interestingly, proteasome inhibitors have been demonstrated to selectively kill cancer cells and also enhance the sensitivity of tumor cells to chemotherapeutic agents. Recently, polyphenols/flavonoids have been reported to inhibit proteasome activity. Murraya koenigii Spreng, a medicinally important herb of Indian origin, has been used for centuries in the Ayurvedic system of medicine. Here we show that Murraya koenigii leaves (curry leaves), a rich source of polyphenols, inhibit the proteolytic activity of the cancer cell proteasome, and cause cell death.
Methods
Hydro-methanolic extract of curry leaves (CLE) was prepared and its total phenolic content [TPC] determined by, the Folin-Ciocalteau’s method. Two human breast carcinoma cell lines: MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 and a normal human lung fibroblast cell line, WI-38 were used for the studies. Cytotoxicity of the CLE was assessed by the MTT assay. We studied the effect of CLE on growth kinetics using colony formation assay. Growth arrest was assessed by cell cycle analysis and apoptosis by Annexin-V binding using flow cytometry. Inhibition of the endogenous 26S proteasome was studied in intact cells and cell extracts using substrates specific to 20S proteasomal enzymes.
Results
CLE decreased cell viability and altered the growth kinetics in both the breast cancer cell lines in a dose-dependent manner. It showed a significant arrest of cells in the S phase albeit in cancer cells only. Annexin V binding data suggests that cell death was via the apoptotic pathway in both the cancer cell lines. CLE treatment significantly decreased the activity of the 26S proteasome in the cancer but not normal cells.
Conclusions
Our study suggests M. koenigii leaves to be a potent source of proteasome inhibitors that lead to cancer cell death. Therefore, identification of active component(s) from the leaf extract could lead to the development of anti-cancer agents which could be useful in the treatment of different types of cancers.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-7
PMCID: PMC3549284  PMID: 23302496
Murraya koenigii; 26S proteasome; Breast cancer; Polyphenols; Methanolic extract; Proteasome inhibitor
9.  Antiangiogenesis and antioxidant activity of ethanol extracts of Pithecellobium jiringa 
Background
Angiogenesis plays a critical role in embryonic development and various physiological processes. However, excessive angiogenesis is associated with several pathological conditions including cancer. Pithecellobium jiringa (Jack) Prain is a traditional medicinal plant from the family Leguminosae. It is native to the Southeast Asia, where it has been used traditionally for treatment of various ailments such as hypertension and diabetes. The present work is aimed to study antioxidant and antiangiogenesis activities of P. jiringa ethanol extracts.
Methods
P. jiringa fruit rinds were extracted with ethanol and 50% ethanol. The antioxidant property was analysed using, 1,1-diphenyl-2-picryl-hydrazyl free radical scavenging assay. Phytochemical analysis was performed using thin layer chromatography and colorimetric methods. Then, cell growth inhibition was studied against a panel of human cell lines by MTT test. In vitro inhibition of angiogenesis was studied by the following assays: isolated rat aortic rings cell viability, colony formation, endothelial cell migration, endothelial tube formation on matrigel, and expression of vascular endothelial growth factor by endothelial cells. In vivo antiangiogenesis effect was studied by utilising fertilised chick embryos assay. The results were statistically analysed by analysis of variance.
Results
Ethanolic and 50% hydro-ethanolic extracts showed relatively high concentration of total phenolics associated with potent antioxidant activity. The rat aortic rings study conducted showed potent inhibition of the microvessels outgrowth with IC50s 5.27 ± 0.81 μg/ml (ethanolic) and 4.45 ± 0.63 μg/ml (50% hydro-ethanolic). Both extracts arrested the growth of human endothelial cells via down-regulation of VEGF expression, leading to inhibition of other angiogenesis cascades including migration of endothelial cells, and formation of capillary network on matrigel matrix. The extracts also inhibited the neovascularisation of chick embryo chorioallantoic membrane.
Conclusions
P. jiringa extracts inhibit angiogenesis by blocking the VEGF expression thus inhibiting endothelial cells proliferation, migration and differentiation most likely due to presence of the antioxidant phenolics.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-210
PMCID: PMC3522529  PMID: 23126282
Pithecellobium jiringa; Antiangiogenesis; Antioxidant; Phytochemical analysis
10.  In vitro and in vivo anti-colon cancer effects of Garcinia mangostana xanthones extract 
Background
Xanthones are a group of oxygen-containing heterocyclic compounds with remarkable pharmacological effects such as anti-cancer, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial activities.
Methods
A xanthones extract (81% α-mangostin and 16% γ-mangostin), was prepared by crystallization of a toluene extract of G. mangostana fruit rinds and was analyzed by LC-MS. Anti-colon cancer effect was investigated on HCT 116 human colorectal carcinoma cells including cytotoxicity, apoptosis, anti-tumorigenicity, and effect on cell signalling pathways. The in vivo anti-colon cancer activity was also investigated on subcutaneous tumors established in nude mice.
Results
The extract showed potent cytotoxicity (median inhibitory concentration 6.5 ± 1.0 μg/ml), due to induction of the mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis. Three key steps in tumor metastasis including the cell migration, cell invasion and clonogenicity, were also inhibited. The extract and α-mangostin up-regulate the MAPK/ERK, c-Myc/Max, and p53 cell signalling pathways. The xanthones extract, when fed to nude mice, caused significant growth inhibition of the subcutaneous tumor of HCT 116 colorectal carcinoma cells.
Conclusions
Our data suggest new mechanisms of action of α-mangostin and the G. mangostana xanthones, and suggest the xanthones extract of as a potential anti-colon cancer candidate.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-104
PMCID: PMC3457913  PMID: 22818000
11.  Anthelmintic and relaxant activities of Verbascum Thapsus Mullein 
Background
Verbascum thapsus is used in tribal medicine as an antispasmodic, anti-tubercular agent and wormicide. In this study, we investigated the antispasmodic and anthelmintic activities of crude aqueous methanolic extract of the plant.
Methods
V. thapsus extracts were tested against roundworms (Ascaridia galli) and tapeworms (Raillietina spiralis). Each species of worm was placed into a negative control group, an albendazole treatment group, or a V. thapsus treatment group, and the time taken for paralysis and death was determined. In addition, relaxation activity tests were performed on sections of rabbit's jejunum. Plant extracts were tested on KCl-induced contractions and the relaxation activities were quantified against atropine. V. thapsus calcium chloride curves were constructed to investigate the mode of action of the plant extracts.
Results
We detected flavonoids, saponins, tannins, terpenoids, glycosides, carbohydrates, proteins, fats and fixed oils in V. thapsus. For both species of worm, paralysis occurred fastest at the highest concentration of extract. The relative index values for paralysis in A. galli were 4.58, 3.41 and 2.08, at concentrations of 10, 20 and 40 mg/ml of plant extract, respectively. The relative index for death in A. galli suggested that V. thapsus extract is wormicidal at high concentration. Similarly, the relative indexes for paralysis and death in R. spiralis suggested that the extract is a more potent wormicidal agent than albendazole. The mean EC50 relaxation activity values for spontaneous and KCl induced contractions were 7.5 ± 1.4 mg/ml (6.57-8.01, n = 6) and 7.9 ± 0.41 mg/ml (7.44-8.46, n = 6), respectively. The relaxation activity of the extract was 11.42 ± 2, 17.0 ± 3, 28.5 ± 4, and 128.0 ± 7% of the maximum observed for atropine at corresponding concentrations. The calcium chloride curves showed that V. thapsus extracts (3 mg/ml), had a mean EC50 (log molar [calcium]) value of -1.9 ± 0.06 (-1.87 - -1.98, n = 6) vs. control EC50 = -2.5 ± 0.12 (-2.37 - -2.56, n = 6), whereas the verapamil (0.1 μM) EC50 was -1.7 ± 0.1 (-1.6 - -1.8, n = 6) vs. control EC50 = -2.4 ± 0.09 (-2.3 - -2.47, n = 5).
Conclusions
Our results suggest that V. thapsus, which is currently used by some tribes in the Malakand region of Pakistan, has anthelmintic and antispasmodic value.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-29
PMCID: PMC3350428  PMID: 22463730
12.  Cytotoxic and anthelmintic potential of crude saponins isolated from Achillea Wilhelmsii C. Koch and Teucrium Stocksianum boiss 
Background
Saponins isolated from plant sources have a number of traditional and industrial applications. Saponins have pharmacological effects like anti-inflammatory, molluscicidal, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, antidiabetic, anticancer, anticonvulsant, anthelmintic, antitussive and cytotoxic activities. The current work describes the anthelmintic and cytotoxic activities of crude saponins of Achillea Wilhelmsii and Teucrium Stocksianum as these plants are rich with saponins.
Methods
Brine shrimp cytotoxic activity of crude saponins was determined by Meyer et al. (1982) at test concentrations of 1000 μg/ml, 100 μg/ml, 10 μg/ml, 7.5 μg/ml, 5.0 μg/ml, 2.5 μg/ml and 1.25 μg/ml. Percentage mortality of test concentrations was determined. Similarly, in vitro anthelmintic activity was determined against roundworms, tapeworms and earthworms. Albendazole and piperazine citrate at concentration 10 mg/ml were used as standard anthelmintic drugs.
Results
Crude saponins of Achillea wilhelmsii (CSA) and Teucrium stocksianum (CST) had, respectively, cytotoxic activity with LC50 values 2.3 ± 0.16 and 5.23 ± 0. 34 μg/ml. For in vitro anthelmintic activity, time for paralysis and death of parasites (parasiticidal activity) was noted. At concentration 40 mg/ml, crude saponins of Achillea wilhelmsii are 1.96 and 2.12 times more potent than albendazole against Pheretima posthuma and Raillietina spiralis, respectively. Similarly, at concentration 40 mg/ml, crude saponins of Teucrium stocksianum (CST) has 1.89, 1.96 and 1.37 times more parasiticidal activity than albendazole against Pheretima posthuma, Raillietina spiralis and Ascardia galli, respectively.
Conclusion
Crude saponins of Achillea wilhelmsii and Teucrium stocksianum have cytotoxic and anthelmintic activity. The crude saponins may be excellent sources of cytotoxic and anthelmintic constituents that warrant its isolation and purification for new drug development.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-11-106
PMCID: PMC3270000  PMID: 22051373
13.  Acute toxicity, brine shrimp cytotoxicity and relaxant activity of fruits of callistemon citrinus curtis 
Background
Callistemon citrinus Curtis belongs to family Myrtaceae that has a great medicinal importance. In our previous work, fruits of Callistemon citrinus were reported to have relaxant (antispasmodic) activity. The current work describes the screening of fractions of the crude methanol extract for tracing spasmolytic constituents so that it shall help us for isolation of bioactive compounds. Acute toxicity and brine shrimp cytotoxicity of crude methanol extract are also performed to standardize it.
Methods
The crude methanol extract was obtained by maceration with distilled water (500 ml) three times and fractionated successively with n-hexane, chloroform, ethyl acetate and n-butanol (300 ml of each solvent). Phytochemical analysis for crude methanol extract was performed. Acute toxicity studies were performed in mice. Brine shrimp cytotoxicity studies were performed to determine its cytotoxicity and standardize it. In other series of experiments, rabbits' jejunum preparations were used in screening for possible relaxant activities of various fractions. They were applied in concentrations of 0.01, 0.03, 0.1, 0.3, 1.0, 3.0, 5.0 and 10.0 mg/ml on spontaneous rabbits' jejunum preparations. In similar fashion, fractions were also tested on KCl (80 mM) -induced contractions. Calcium chloride curves were constructed in K-rich Tyrode's solution. The effects of various fractions were tested on calcium chloride curves at concentrations 1.0, 3.0, 5.0 and 10.0 mg/ml. Curves of verapamil used as reference drug at concentration 0.1 μM and 0.3 μM were also constructed. The curves were compared with their respective controls for possible right shift.
Results
Methanol extract tested strongly positive for saponins and tannins. However, it tested mild positive for presence of proteins, amino acids, carbohydrates and phenolic compounds. LD50 value for crude methanol extract is 476.25 ± 10.3 (470-481, n = 4) mg/ml. Similarly, EC50 value for brine shrimp cytotoxicity is 65.5 ± 7.28 (60.8- 69.4, n = 4) mg/ml. All the fractions relaxed the spontaneous and KCl-induced contractions. EC50 values (mg/ml) for effects of ethyl acetate fraction on spontaneous and KCl induced contractions are 2.62 ± 0.78 (2.15-3.0, n = 4) and 3.72 ± 0.86 (3.38-4.28, n = 4) respectively. Respective EC50 values (mg/ml) for n-butanol fraction are 3.59 ± 0.2(3.07-3.9, n = 4) for spontaneous, and 5.57 ± 0.2 (5.07-6.11, n = 4) for KCl- induced contractions. EC50 value for control calcium chloride curve (without extract) is -2.73 ± 0.19 (-2.6 - -2.81, n = 4) while EC50 for curves treated with 5.0 mg/ml of chloroform is -2.22 ± 0.02 (-2.16 - -2.3, n = 4). EC50 value for ethyl acetate treated (1.0 mg/ml) tissues is -1.95 ± 0.10 (-1.88 - -2.0, n = 4) vs. control EC50 = -2.71 ± 0.08 (-2.66 - -2.76, n = 4). All the fractions, except n-hexane, showed a right shift like that of verapamil (EC50 = -1.72 ± 0.15 (-1.62 - -1.8, n = 4) vs. Control EC50 = -2.41 ± 0.06 (-2.38 - - 2.44, n = 4), a standard drug that blocks voltage operated calcium channels.
Conclusion
Relaxant constituents were more concentrated in ethylacetate fraction followed by chloroform, n -butanol and aqueous fractions that warrant for its isolation. The crude methanol extract is safe at concentration 250 mg/ml or below and results of brine shrimp cytotoxicity assay imply the plant specie may be a source of cytotoxic agents.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-11-99
PMCID: PMC3216858  PMID: 22024247
14.  Antiproliferative effect of Tualang honey on oral squamous cell carcinoma and osteosarcoma cell lines 
Background
The treatment of oral squamous cell carcinomas (OSCC) and human osteosarcoma (HOS) includes surgery and/or radiotherapy which often lead to reduced quality of life. This study was aimed to study the antiproliferative activity of local honey (Tualang) on OSCC and HOS cell lines.
Methods
Several concentrations of Tualang honey (1% - 20%) were applied on OSCC and HOS cell lines for 3, 6, 12, 24, 48 and 72 hours. Morphological characteristics were observed under light and fluorescent microscope. Cell viability was assessed using MTT assay and the optical density for absorbance values in each experiment was measured at 570 nm by an ELISA reader. Detection of cellular apoptosis was done using the Annexin V-FITC Apoptosis Detection Kit.
Results
Morphological appearance showed apoptotic cellular changes like becoming rounded, reduction in cell number, blebbed membrane and apoptotic nuclear changes like nuclear shrinkage, chromatin condensation and fragmented nucleus on OSCC and HOS cell lines. Cell viability assay showed a time and dose-dependent inhibitory effect of honey on both cell lines. The 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) for OSCC and HOS cell lines was found to be 4% and 3.5% respectively. The maximum inhibition of cell growth of ≥80% was obtained at 15% for both cell lines. Early apoptosis was evident by flow cytometry where percentage of early apoptotic cells increased in dose and time dependent manner.
Conclusion
Tualang honey showed antiproliferative effect on OSCC and HOS cell lines by inducing early apoptosis.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-10-49
PMCID: PMC2949736  PMID: 20840769
15.  Attitude and use of herbal medicines among pregnant women in Nigeria 
Background
The use of herbal medicines among pregnant women in Nigeria has not been widely studied.
Methods
Opinion of 595 pregnant women in three geopolitical zones in Nigeria on the use of herbal medicines, safety on usage, knowledge of potential effects of herbal remedies on the fetus and potential benefits or harms that may be derived from combining herbal remedies with conventional therapies were obtained using a structured questionnaire between September 2007 and March 2008. Descriptive statistics and Fisher's exact tests were used at 95% confidence level to evaluate the data obtained. Level of significance was set at p < 0.05.
Results
More than two-third of respondents [67.5%] had used herbal medicines in crude forms or as pharmaceutical prepackaged dosage forms, with 74.3% preferring self-prepared formulations. Almost 30% who were using herbal medicine at the time of the study believed that the use of herbal medicines during pregnancy is safe. Respondents' reasons for taking herbal medications were varied and included reasons such as herbs having better efficacy than conventional medicines [22.4%], herbs being natural, are safer to use during pregnancy than conventional medicines [21.1%], low efficacy of conventional medicines [19.7%], easier access to herbal medicines [11.2%], traditional and cultural belief in herbal medicines to cure many illnesses [12.5%], and comparatively low cost of herbal medicines [5.9%].
Over half the respondents, 56.6% did not support combining herbal medicines with conventional drugs to forestall drug-herb interaction. About 33.4% respondents believed herbal medicines possess no adverse effects while 181 [30.4%] were of the opinion that adverse/side effects of some herbal medicines could be dangerous. Marital status, geopolitical zones, and educational qualification of respondents had statistically significant effects on respondents views on side effects of herbal medicines [p < 0.05)] while only geopolitical zones and educational qualifications seemed to have influence on respondents' opinion on the harmful effects of herbal medicines to the fetus [p < 0.05].
Conclusion
The study emphasized the wide spread use of herbal medicines by pregnant women in Nigeria highlighting an urgent need for health care practitioners and other health care givers to be aware of this practice and make efforts in obtaining information about herb use during ante-natal care. This will help forestall possible interaction between herbal and conventional medicines.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-9-53
PMCID: PMC2808296  PMID: 20043858
16.  Knowledge and beliefs concerning evidence-based practice amongst complementary and alternative medicine health care practitioners and allied health care professionals: A questionnaire survey 
Background
Evidence-based practice (EBP) has become an important competency in many allied and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) health care practitioners' professional standards of proficiency.
Methods
To compliment an EBP course for allied health care professionals and CAM practitioners, we undertook a questionnaire survey to assess learning needs. We developed a questionnaire to measure allied health care professionals and CAM practitioners' basic knowledge, skills and beliefs concerning the main principles of EBP. The questionnaires were administered to all attendees of one-day EBP workshops.
Results
During 2004–5 we surveyed 193 allied health care professionals and CAM practitioners who attended one-day EBP courses prior to commencement of teaching. Of the respondents 121 (62.7%) were allied health care professionals and 65 (33.7%) practitioners stated that they work in the CAM field Our survey found that the majority of the respondents had not previously attended a literature appraisal skills workshop (87.3%) or received formal training in research methods (69.9%), epidemiology (91.2%) or statistics (80.8%). Furthermore, 67.1% of practitioners specified that they felt that they had not had adequate training in EBM and they identified that they needed more training and education in the principles of EBM (86.7%). Differences in knowledge and beliefs concerning EBP amongst allied and CAM practitioners were found and length of time since qualification was also found to be an important factor in practitioner's beliefs. More CAM practitioners compared to allied health professionals accessed educational literature via the Internet (95.3% v 68.1%, p = 0.008). Whilst, practitioners with more than 11 years experience felt that original research papers were far more confusing (p = 0.02) than their less experienced colleagues.
Conclusion
The results demonstrate that practitioner's learning needs do vary according to the type of profession, time since graduation and prior research experience. Our survey findings are exploratory and will benefit from further replication, however, we do believe that they warrant consideration by allied health care and CAM tutors and trainers when planning EBP teaching curricula as it is important to tailor teaching to meet the needs of specific subgroups of trainees to ensure that specific learning needs are met.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-8-45
PMCID: PMC2533291  PMID: 18651937
17.  The use of biomedicine, complementary and alternative medicine, and ethnomedicine for the treatment of epilepsy among people of South Asian origin in the UK 
Background
Studies have shown that a significant proportion of people with epilepsy use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). CAM use is known to vary between different ethnic groups and cultural contexts; however, little attention has been devoted to inter-ethnic differences within the UK population. We studied the use of biomedicine, complementary and alternative medicine, and ethnomedicine in a sample of people with epilepsy of South Asian origin living in the north of England.
Methods
Interviews were conducted with 30 people of South Asian origin and 16 carers drawn from a sampling frame of patients over 18 years old with epilepsy, compiled from epilepsy registers and hospital databases. All interviews were tape-recorded, translated if required and transcribed. A framework approach was adopted to analyse the data.
Results
All those interviewed were taking conventional anti-epileptic drugs. Most had also sought help from traditional South Asian practitioners, but only two people had tried conventional CAM. Decisions to consult a traditional healer were taken by families rather than by individuals with epilepsy. Those who made the decision to consult a traditional healer were usually older family members and their motivations and perceptions of safety and efficacy often differed from those of the recipients of the treatment. No-one had discussed the use of traditional therapies with their doctor. The patterns observed in the UK mirrored those reported among people with epilepsy in India and Pakistan.
Conclusion
The health care-seeking behaviour of study participants, although mainly confined within the ethnomedicine sector, shared much in common with that of people who use global CAM. The appeal of traditional therapies lay in their religious and moral legitimacy within the South Asian community, especially to the older generation who were disproportionately influential in the determination of treatment choices. As a second generation made up of people of Pakistani origin born in the UK reach the age when they are the influential decision makers in their families, resort to traditional therapies may decline. People had long experience of navigating plural systems of health care and avoided potential conflict by maintaining strict separation between different sectors. Health care practitioners need to approach these issues with sensitivity and to regard traditional healers as potential allies, rather than competitors or quacks.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-8-7
PMCID: PMC2329602  PMID: 18366698

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