Artemisia Absinthium (AA): A Novel Potential Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Breast Cancer

Mol Biol Rep. 2012 Jul;39(7):7373-9. doi: 10.1007/s11033-012-1569-0. Epub 2012 Feb 5.

Abstract

Natural products have become increasingly important in pharmaceutical discoveries, and traditional herbalism has been a pioneering specialty in biomedical science. The search for effective plant-derived anticancer agents has continued to gain momentum in recent years. The present study aimed to investigate the role of crude extracts of the aerial parts of Artemisia absinthium (AA) extract in modulating intracellular signaling mechanisms, in particular its ability to inhibit cell proliferation and promote apoptosis in a human breast carcinoma estrogenic-unresponsive cell line, MDA-MB-231, and an estrogenic-responsive cell line, MCF-7. Cells were incubated with various concentrations of AA, and anti-proliferative activity was assessed by MTT assays, fluorescence microscopy after propidium iodide staining, western blotting and cell cycle analysis. Cell survival assays indicated that AA was cytotoxic to both MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 cells. The morphological features typical of nucleic staining and the accumulation of sub-G1 peak revealed that the extract triggered apoptosis. Treatment with 25 μg/mL AA resulted in activation of caspase-7 and upregulation of Bad in MCF-7 cells, while exposure to 20 μg/mL AA induced upregulation of Bcl-2 protein in a time-dependent response in MDA-MB-231 cells. Both MEK1/2 and ERK1/2 was inactivated in both cell lines after AA treatment in a time-dependent manner. These results suggest that AA-induced anti-proliferative effects on human breast cancer cells could possibly trigger apoptosis in both cell lines through the modulation of Bcl-2 family proteins and the MEK/ERK pathway. This might lead to its possible development as a therapeutic agent for breast cancer following further investigations.

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Artemisia absinthium*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Caspase 7 / biosynthesis
  • Caspase 7 / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cell Survival
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases / biosynthesis
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System / drug effects
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / biosynthesis
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / metabolism
  • bcl-Associated Death Protein / biosynthesis
  • bcl-Associated Death Protein / metabolism

Substances

  • BAD protein, human
  • Plant Extracts
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • bcl-Associated Death Protein
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases
  • Caspase 7