Objective: Methylation-specific epigenetic process and gene expression profiles of HeLa cells treated with ultra-high dilutions (HDs) of two plant extracts, Hydrastis canadensis (HC-30) and Marsdenia condurango (Condu-30), diluted 1060 times, were analyzed against placebo 30C (Pl-30) for alterations in gene profiles linked to epigenetic modifications.
Methods: Separate groups of cells were subjected to treatment of Condu-30, HC-30, and Pl-30 prepared by serial dilutions and succussions. Global microarray data recorded on Affymetrix platform, using 25-mer probes were provided by iLifeDiscoveries, India. Slides were scanned with 3000 7G microarray scanner and raw data sets were extracted from Cel (raw intensity) files. Analyses of global microarray data profile, differential gene expression, fold change and clusters were made using GeneSpring GX12.5 software and standard normalization procedure. Before microarray study, concentration of RNA (ng/μL), RIN value and rRNA ratio for all the samples were analysed by Agilant Bioanalyzer 2100. Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and quantitative RT-PCR were done for analyzing SMAD-4 expression. Fluorescence-activated cell sorting study was further made to elucidate fate of cells at divisional stages. Methylation-specific restriction enzyme assay was conducted for ascertaining methylation status of DNA at specific sites.
Results: HDs of HC-30 and Condu-30 differentially altered methylation in specific regions of DNA and expression profiles of certain genes linked to carcinogenesis, as compared to Pl-30. Two separate cut sites were found in genomic DNA of untreated and placebo-treated HeLa cells when digested with McrBC, compared to a single cut observed in Condu-30-treated genomic DNA. SMAD-4 gene expression validated the expression pattern observed in microarray profile. Methylation-specific restriction enzyme assay elucidated differential epigenetic modifications in drug-treated and control cells.
Conclusion: HDs triggered epigenetic modifications and alterations in microarray gene expression profiles of many genes associated with carcinogenesis in HeLa cells in vitro.