Purified Essential Oil from Ocimum sanctum Linn. Triggers the Apoptotic Mechanism in Human Breast Cancer Cells

Pharmacogn Mag. 2016 May;12(Suppl 3):S327-31. doi: 10.4103/0973-1296.185738.


Background: Essential oil of Ocimum sanctum Linn. exhibited various pharmacological activities including antifungal and antimicrobial activities. In this study, we analyzed the anticancer and apoptosis mechanisms of Ocimum sanctum essential oil (OSEO).

Objective: To trigger the apoptosis mechanism in human breast cancer cells using OSEO.

Materials and methods: OSEO was extracted using hydrodistillation of the leaves. Cell proliferation was determined using different concentrations of OSEO. Apoptosis studies were carried out in human breast cancer cells using propidium iodide (PI) and Hoechst staining.

Results: We found that OSEO inhibited proliferation (IC50 = 170 μg/ml) of Michigan cancer foundation-7 (MCF-7) cells in a dose-dependent manner. The OSEO also induced apoptosis as evidenced by the increasing number of PI-stained apoptotic nucleic of MCF-7 cells. Flow cytometry analysis revealed that treatment with OSEO (50-500 μg/ml) increased the apoptotic cells population (16-84%) dose dependently compared to the control. OSEO has the ability to up-regulate the apoptotic genes p53 and Bid and as well as elevates the ratio of Bax/Bcl-2.

Conclusion: Our findings indicate that OSEO has the ability as proapoptotic inducer and it could be developed as an anticancer agent.

Summary: OSEO inhibited proliferation of MCF-7 cells with an IC50 of 170 μg/mLOSEO at 500 μg/mL increased the population of apoptotic cells by 84%OSEO up-regulated the expression of apoptotic genes and as well increased the Bax/Bcl2 ratio. Abbreviations used: BAX: BAX BCL2-associated X protein; BCL2: B-cell CLL/lymphoma 2; BID: BH3 Interacting domain death agonist; OSEO: Ocimum sanctum essential oil; DMSO: Dimethyl sulfoxide; DMEM: Dulbecco's modified Eagle medium; MCF-7: Michigan cancer foundation-7;

Rt-pcr: Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction.

Keywords: Apoptosis; Ocimum sanctum; breast cancer; essential oil; gene expression.