Antiproliferative and apoptotic activities of extracts of Asclepias subulata
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© 2015 Informa Healthcare USA, Inc. Context: Asclepias subulata Decne. (Apocynaceae) is a shrub used in the Mexican traditional medicine for the treatment of cancer. Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate the antiproliferative activity of methanol extract of aerial parts of A. subulata and its fractions against different cancer cell lines. Additionally, we analyzed the mechanism of action of the active fractions. Materials and methods: Methanol extract fractions were prepared by serial extraction with n-hexane, ethyl acetate, and ethanol. The antiproliferative activity of methanol extract and its fractions was evaluated, against several murine (M12.C3.F6, RAW 264.7, and L929) and human (HeLa, A549, PC-3, LS 180, and ARPE-19) cell lines by the MTT assay, using concentrations of 0.4-400 μg/mL for 48 h. Ethanol and residual fractions were separated using silica gel column. Apoptosis induction of cancer cells was evaluated by Annexin and JC-1 staining using flow cytometry. Results: Methanol extract and its fractions showed antiproliferative activity against all human cancer cell lines tested. Methanol extract had the highest antiproliferative activity on A549 and HeLa cells (IC50 values<0.4 and 8.7 μg/mL, respectively). Ethanol and residual fractions exerted significant antiproliferative effect on A549 (IC50<0.4 μg/mL) and PC3 cells (IC50 1.4 and 5.1 μg/mL). Apoptotic assays showed that CEF7, CEF9, CRF6, and CRF5 fractions induced mitochondrial depolarization in A549 cells, 70, 73, 77, and 80%, respectively. Those fractions triggered the apoptosis mitochondrial pathway. Conclusion: Our data show that A. subulata extracts have potent antiproliferative properties on human cancer cell lines. This plant should be considered an important source of potent anticancer compounds.