Article

Does usnic acid affect microtubules in human cancer cells?

Department of Surgery and Molecular Oncology, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, University of Dundee, Dundee, Scotland, UK.
Brazilian journal of biology = Revista brasleira de biologia (Impact Factor: 0.68). 04/2010; 70(3):659-64. DOI: 10.1590/S1519-69842010005000013
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Usnic acid, a lichen metabolite, is known to exert antimitotic and antiproliferative activities against normal and malignant human cells. Many chemotherapy agents exert their activities by blocking cell cycle progression, inducing cell death through apoptosis. Microtubules, protein structure involved in the segregation of chromosomes during mitosis, serve as chemotherapeutical targets due to their key role in cellular division as well as apoptosis. The aim of this work was to investigate whether usnic acid affects the formation and/or stabilisation of microtubules by visualising microtubules and determining mitotic indices after treatment. The breast cancer cell line MCF7 and the lung cancer cell line H1299 were treated with usnic acid 29 microM for 24 hours and two positive controls: vincristine (which prevents the formation of microtubules) or taxol (which stabilizes microtubules). Treatment of MCF7 and H1299 cells with usnic acid did not result in any morphological changes in microtubules or increase in the mitotic index. These results suggest that the antineoplastic activity of usnic acid is not related to alterations in the formation and/or stabilisation of microtubules.

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