In vitro effects of Sutherlandia frutescens water extracts on cell numbers, morphology, cell cycle progression and cell death in a tumorigenic and a non-tumorigenic epithelial breast cell line. J Ethnopharmacol

Department of Physiology, PO Box 2034, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0001, South Africa.
Journal of ethnopharmacology (Impact Factor: 2.94). 08/2009; 124(1):45-60. DOI: 10.1016/j.jep.2009.04.013
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Sutherlandia frutescens is a South African herb traditionally used for internal cancers, diabetes, a variety of inflammatory conditions and recently to improve the overall health in cancer and HIV/AIDS patients. The in vitro effects of S. frutescens extracts were evaluated on cell numbers, morphology, cell cycle progression and cell death. Dose-dependent studies (2-10 mg/ml) revealed a decrease in malignant cell numbers when compared to their controls. S. frutescens extracts (10 mg/ml) decreased cell growth in a statistically significantly manner to 26% and 49% (P<0.001) in human breast adenocarcinoma (MCF-7) and human non-tumorigenic epithelial mammary gland cells (MCF-12A) respectively after 72 h of exposure. Cell density was significantly compromised and hypercondensed chromatin, cytoplasmic shrinking, membrane blebbing and apoptotic bodies were more pronounced in the MCF-7 cell line. Both S. frutescens-treated cell lines exhibited and increased tendency for acridine orange staining, suggesting increased lysosomal and/or autophagy activity. Flow cytometry showed an increase in the sub G(1) apoptotic fraction and an S phase arrest in both the 5 mg/ml and 10 mg/ml S. frutescens-treated cells. S. frutescens induced an increase in apoptosis in both cell lines as detected by Annexin V and propidium iodide flow cytometric measurement. At 10 mg/ml, late stages of apoptosis were more prominent in MCF-7 S. frutescens-treated cells when compared to the MCF-12A cells. Transmission electron microscopy revealed hallmarks of increased vacuolarization and hypercondensed chromatin, suggesting autophagic and apoptotic processes. The preliminary study demonstrates that S. frutescens water extracts exert a differential action mechanism in non-tumorigenic MCF-12A cells when compared to tumorigenic MCF-7 cells, warranting future studies on this multi-purpose medicinal plant in southern Africa.

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    • "Fernandes reported that a hot-water extract of S. frutescens had antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities both in human neutrophils and in a cell-free system, and these findings were confirmed by other groups (Chen, 2007; Fernandes et al., 2004; Tobwala et al., 2014). A hot-water extract induces apoptosis and autophagic processes in neoplastic cells (e.g., cervical carcinoma and human breast adenocarcinoma MCF-7 cells (Chinkwo, 2005; Stander et al., 2009), which may explain S. frutescens' claimed activity toward certain cancers. "
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    ABSTRACT: Sutherlandia frutescens (L.) R. Br. is an indigenous plant of southern Africa that has been traditionally used for various cancers, infections, and inflammatory conditions. Our aim was to investigate the potential immuno-stimulatory activity of a polysaccharide-enriched fraction (SFPS) from a decoction of S. frutescens. RAW 264.7 cells (a murine macrophage cell line) were used to determine the activities of SFPS on macrophage function. The production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), nitric oxide (NO), and inflammatory cytokines were evaluated in the cells treated with or without SFPS. CLI-095, a toll-like receptor (TLR) 4-specific inhibitor, was used to identify whether or not SFPS exerts its effects through TLR4. An antagonist of endotoxin, polymyxin B, was used to evaluate whether endotoxin present in SFPS contributed to its immune-stimulatory activity. SFPS exhibited potent immune-stimulatory activity by macrophages. The production of ROS, NO, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α) were increased upon exposure to SFPS in a dose-dependent manner. All of these activities were completely blocked by co-treatment with CLI-095, but only partially diminished by polymyxin B. We demonstrate for the first time potent immune-stimulatory activity in a decoction prepared from S. frutescens. We believe that this immune stimulatory activity is due, in part, to the action of polysaccharides present in the decoction that acts by way of TLR4 receptors and the nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB) signaling pathway. These findings provide a plausible mechanism through which we can understand some of the medicinal properties of S. frutescens. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Journal of ethnopharmacology 06/2015; 172. DOI:10.1016/j.jep.2015.06.013 · 2.94 Impact Factor
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    • "These cells secreted low levels of cytokines generally consistent with the decrease cell viability of treated PBMCs. A number of studies have shown the cytotoxicity of SF extracts on cultured cell lines in vitro (Tai et al., 2004; Chinkwo, 2005; Stander et al., 2009; Korb et al., 2010). L-canavanine, a natural L-arginine analogue, and its metabolite canaline were suggested as two of many factors contributing to in vitro antiproliferative and apoptotic activity of SF extracts (Chinkwo, 2005). "
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    ABSTRACT: Sutherlandia frutescens (SF) is one of the medicinal plants used as an immune booster in the treatment of chronic ailments such as HIV/AIDS and cancer. Limited data suggest that its efficacy is based on its regulatory effect on cytokines, the critical components of the immune response. In this study, we investigated the in vitro immunomodulatory effects of SF extracts on normal human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). An ELISA-based assay was used to assess the levels of expression of 12 cytokines in treated cells. An adenosine triphosphate (ATP) assay was used to assess cell viability in relation to cytokine secretion. SF ethanol extracts induced changes in cytokine secretion relative to the dose of the extract. Generally cytokine expression and secretion was low in concentration because were not stimulated with any endotoxin. The high SFE dose (2.5 mg/ml) significantly (p<0.001) decreased some cytokines including TNF-α and IL 1β. Low doses of this extract (0.5 mg/ml) did not change TNF-α and IL 1β secretion from the baseline (untreated cells). Changes in cytokine secretion of SFE treated cells tracked changes in ATP levels (cell viability). The SFW extract-induced changes in cytokine secretion were independent of cell viability. TNF-α was decreased (p<0.001) by the high dose of SFW extract while IL 1β and IFNγ were increased (p<0.01) by the same dose. High doses decreased cell viability which was reflected in cytokine secretion. It is evident, from these results, that SF extracts can modulate cytokine secretion in unstimulated normal PBMCs in vitro. Further studies in animal models are recommended to advance understanding of this immunomodulatory activity.
    African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines 09/2012; 9(3 Suppl):40-6. DOI:10.4314/ajtcam.v9i3S.6 · 0.56 Impact Factor
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    • "This is also the reason why there were T cells with fragmented and condensed nuclei under Hoechst 33342 staining. A recent study showed that morphological hallmarks of apoptosis were less prominent in human non-tumorigenic epithelial mammary gland cells (MCF-12A) after exposure to water extracts of SF (Stander et al., 2009). They concluded that SF extracts exerted a differential action mechanism in normal cells when compared to cancer cells. "
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    ABSTRACT: Sutherlandia frutescens (SF), a popular traditional medicinal plant found in various parts of southern Africa, is used for treatment or management of HIV/AIDS and other diseases including cancer. However, its toxicity profile has not been fully established. The aims of this study were to examine the effects of 70% ethanol (SFE) and deionised water (SFW) extracts on normal isolated human T cells. An experimental study on normal human lymphocytes treated with doses SF extract doses ranging from 0.25 to 2.5 mg/ml. Untreated, vehicle-treated (Ethanol) and camptothecin (CPT) treated normal T cells were used as controls. Induction of cell death, changes in intracellular ATP, caspase-3/-7 activity and nuclear changes were analysed using flow cytometry, luminometry and nuclear staining (Hoechst) respectively. The highest concentration (2.5 mg/ml) of SFE extract induced significant necrosis (95%), depletion of ATP (76%), and inhibition of caspase-3/-7 activity (11%) following a 24 hour incubation period (p< 0.001). The 2.5 mg/ml concentration of SFW showed the same trend but were less effective (necrosis- 26%, ATP- 91%, & caspase-3/-7- 15%). These effects showed a time-dependence over 48 hours of incubation, with high doses of SFE extracts eliminating viable cells by necrosis, depleting ATP levels and decreasing caspase-3/-7 activity (p< 0.001). The activity of SFE extract was independent of ethanol. The SFW extract dilutions were less toxic than the SFE extracts. Significant DNA fragmentation as demonstrated by Hoechst staining was also seen over 48-hour incubation for high doses of both types of SF extracts. These results showed that although high concentrations of SF extracts can be toxic to normal T cells in vitro, SFW fractions were relatively safe for use.
    African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines 01/2012; 9(1):73-80. DOI:10.4314/ajtcam.v9i1.11 · 0.56 Impact Factor
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