Cytotoxicity of the coagulant Moringa oleifera lectin (cMoL) to B16-F10 melanoma cells

Toxicol In Vitro. 2017 Oct;44:94-99. doi: 10.1016/j.tiv.2017.06.019. Epub 2017 Jun 20.


Moringa oleifera seeds are used in alternative medicine to treat inflammation, tumors and bacterial and protozoan infections, for example. The seeds contain lectins, which are carbohydrate-binding proteins with several biological properties including cytotoxicity to cancer cells. In this work, we examined the cytotoxicity of the coagulant M. oleifera lectin (cMoL) on B16-F10 murine melanoma cells. cMoL cytotoxic effects were evaluated through trypan blue assay and flow cytometry analysis. Mitochondrial superoxide levels and activation of caspases 3, 8 and 9 were measured. cMoL (1.5-16μM) reduced viability and caused cell death of B16-F10 cells with an IC50 of 9.72μM. Flow cytometry analysis indicated induction of necrosis and suggested the presence of cells in late apoptosis. Specificity for tumor cells was observed since death of normal human fibroblasts (GN) was not higher than 20% in treatments with cMoL from 1.5 to 16μM. Microscopy images revealed rounded shape and reduction of volume in B16-F10 cells treated with cMoL. cMoL increased mitochondrial ROS production and promoted caspases 3, 8 and 9 activation in B16-F10 cells, indicating the activation of apoptosis-related pathway. In conclusion, this study demonstrates that cMoL is cytotoxic to B16-F10 cells, which stimulates more investigation on the anticancer potential of this lectin.

Keywords: Cytotoxicity; Lectin; Melanoma; Moringa oleifera.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Caspases / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Fibroblasts / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Melanoma, Experimental
  • Mice
  • Mitochondria / drug effects
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Moringa oleifera*
  • Plant Lectins / pharmacology*
  • Superoxides / metabolism


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Plant Lectins
  • Superoxides
  • Caspases