Cytotoxic and apoptogenic effects of Bryonia aspera root extract against Hela and HN-5 cancer cell lines

Document Type : Original Research Article


1 Department of Pharmacology, School of medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

2 Department of Biology, Payame Noor University, 193953697- Tehran, Iran


Objective: Bryonia aspera (Stev. ex Ledeb) is a plant that grows in northeast of Iran. In the present study, cytotoxic and apoptogenic properties of B. aspera root extract was determined against HN-5(head and neck squamous cell carcinoma) and Hela (cervix adenocarcinoma) cell lines.
Materials and Methods: HN-5 and Hela cell lines were cultured in DMEM medium and incubated with different concentrations of B. aspera root extract. Cell viability was quantitated by MTT assay and the optical absorbance was measured at 570 nm (620 nm as the reference) by an ELISA reader, in each experiment. Apoptotic cells were assessed using PI staining of DNA fragmentation by flow cytometry (sub-G1 peak). The B. aspera inhibited 50% growth (IC50) of Hela and HN-5 cell lines at 100±28 μg/ml and 12.5±4 μg/ml, respectively after 48 hr of incubation.
Results: Cell viability assay showed that inhibitory effects of B. aspera were time and dose-dependent in both cell lines, which were consistent with morphological changes, observed under light microscope. Apoptosis was investigated by flow cytometry in which percentage of apoptotic cells increased in a dose and time-dependent manner.
Conclusion: Based on our data, B. aspera has cytotoxic effects in which apoptosis played an important role. Further evaluations are needed to assess the possible anti-tumor properties of this plant.


Main Subjects

Cooper EL. 2004. Drug discovery, CAM and natural products.  Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 3: 215.
Coope EL. 2005. CAM, eCAM, bioprospecting: the 21st century pyramid. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2: 125-127.
Efferth T, Dunstan H, Sauerbrey A, Miyachi H, Chitambar CR. 2001. The anti-malarial artesunate is also active against cancer. Int J Oncol, 18: 767-773.
Farjadian S, Asadi E, Doroudchi M, Dehaghani A, SamsamiTabei, SZ, Kumar, VP, Ghaderi A. 2003. High risk HPV types in southern Iranian patients with cervical cancer. Pathol Oncol Res, 9: 121-125.
Forastiere A, Koch W, Trotti A, Sidransky D. 2001.Head and neck cancer. N Engl J Med, 345: 1890-1900.
Ghorbani A. 2005. Studies on pharmaceutical ethnobotany in the region of Turkmen Sahra, north of Iran :( Part 1): General results.  J Ethnopharmacol, 102: 58-68.
Green DR, Reed JC. 1998. Mitochondria and apoptosis. Science, 281: 1309–1312.
Hersey P, Zhang XD. 2001. How melanoma cells evade trail-induced apoptosis. Nat Rev Cancer, 1: 142-150.
Hsiao WL, Liu L. 2010. The role of traditional Chinese herbal medicines in cancer therapy–from TCM theory to mechanistic insights. Planta Med, 76: 1118-1131.
Mosmann T. 1983. Rapid colorimetric assay for cellular growth and survival: application to proliferation and cytotoxicity assays. J Immunol Methods, 65: 55-63.
Mousavi SH, Tavakkol Afsharic J. Brook A. 2008. Study of cytotoxic effects of saffron in MCF-7 Cells. IJPR, 4: 261-268.
Mousavi SH, Tavakkol-Afshari J, Brook A, Jafari-Anarkooli I .2009. Direct toxicity of Rose Bengal in MCF-7 cell line: role of apoptosis. Food Chem Toxicol, 47: 855-859.
Parkin DM, Bray F, Ferlay J, Pisani P. 2005.Global cancer statistics, 2002. CA Cancer J Clin, 55: 74-108.
Sahranavard S, Naghibi F, Ghffari S. 2012. Cytotoxic activity of extracts and pure compounds of Bryonia aspera.  Int J Pharm Pharmaceut Sci, 4: 541-543.
Sharifi AM, Mousavi SH, Bakhshayesh M, Khakinegad Tehrani F, Mahmoudian M, Oryan S. 2005. Study of correlation between lead-induced cytotoxicity and nitric oxide production in PC12 cells. Toxicol Lett, 160: 43–48.
Stewart BW, KleihuesP,editors. 2003. Cancer facts and figures. In World Health Organization; World cancer report. London. IACRPress.
Song SY, Lee I, Park C, Lee H, Hahm JC, Kang W K. 2005. Neolignans from Saururuschinens is inhibit PC-3 prostate cancer cell growth via apoptosis and senescence-like mechanisms. Int J Mol Med, 16: 517–523.
Tabrizi AD, Alizadeh M, Sayyah Melli M, Jafari M, Madarek E. 2006. Incidence rate of cervical cancer and precancerous lesions in East Azarbayjan, Iran. Asia Pac J Clin Oncol, 2: 87–90.
Taraphdar AK, Roy M, Bhattacharya RK. 2001. Natural products as inducers of apoptosis: Implication for cancer therapy and prevention. Curr Sci, 80:1387–1396.
Tsao JCI, Zeltzer LK. 2005. Complementary and alternative medicine approaches for pediatric pain: a review of the state-of-the-science. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2:149–159.
Zhang XD, Franco A, Myers K, Gray C, Nguyen T, Hersey P.1999. Relation of TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) receptor and FLICE-inhibitory protein expression to TRAIL-induced apoptosis of melanoma. Cancer Res, 59: 2747–2753.