A comparative evaluation of the anticancer properties of European and American elderberry fruits

J Med Food. Winter 2006;9(4):498-504. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2006.9.498.

Abstract

European elderberry (Sambucus nigra), recognized in Europe for its health-promoting properties for many generations, is known to contain a range of anthocyanins, flavonoids, and other polyphenolics that contribute to the high antioxidant capacity of its berries. American elderberry (Sambucus canadensis), on the other hand, has not been cultivated, bred, and promoted as a medicinal plant like its better-characterized European counterpart. In this study, aqueous acetone extracts of the berries from these two species were fractionated and tested in a range of assays that gauge anticarcinogenic potential. Both cultivated S. nigra and wild S. canadensis fruits demonstrated significant chemopreventive potential through strong induction of quinone reductase and inhibition of cyclooxygenase-2, which is indicative of anti-initiation and antipromotion properties, respectively. In addition, fractions of S. canadensis extract showed inhibition of ornithine decarboxylase, an enzyme marker related to the promotion stage of carcinogenesis. Analysis of active fractions using mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry revealed, in addition to flavonoids, the presence of more lipophilic compounds such as sesquiterpenes, iridoid monoterpene glycosides, and phytosterols.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Enzyme Induction / drug effects
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Europe
  • Fruit / chemistry*
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • NAD(P)H Dehydrogenase (Quinone) / biosynthesis
  • Ornithine Decarboxylase Inhibitors
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Sambucus / chemistry*
  • United States

Substances

  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Ornithine Decarboxylase Inhibitors
  • Plant Extracts
  • NAD(P)H Dehydrogenase (Quinone)