Exploring the Cytotoxic Potential of Triterpenoids-enriched Fraction of Bacopa monnieri by Implementing In vitro, In vivo, and In silico Approaches

Pharmacogn Mag. 2017 Oct;13(Suppl 3):S595-S606. doi: 10.4103/pm.pm_397_16. Epub 2017 Oct 11.


Background: Bacopa monnieri (BM) is a herbaceous plant traditionally used from time immemorial in Ayurvedic and folklore medicines. We hypothesized that the extract of the whole plant might contain numerous molecules with having antitumor activities that could be very effective in killing of human cancer cells.

Objectives: This work investigated anticancer activity of bioactive fraction of BM.

Materials and methods: The hydroalcoholic extract of BM was fractionated with different solvent, namely, hexane, dichloromethane (DCM), acetone, methanol, and water. The in vitro anticancer activity was performed against various Human Cancer Cell lines, namely, Colon (HT29, Colo320, and Caco2), Lung (A549), Cervix (HeLa, SiHa), and Breast (MCF-7, MDAMB-231). Further, DCM fraction was evaluated in vivo for anticancer activity against Ehrlich ascites carcinoma (EAC) tumor-bearing mice since it showed the best cytotoxicity at 72 h (IC50 41.0-60.0 µg/mL). The metabolic fingerprinting of these extract were carried out using high-performance thin-layer chromatography along with quantification of bacoside A, bacoside B, cucurbitacin B, cucurbitacin E, and bittulinic acid.

Results: Oral administration of DCM fraction at a dose of 40 mg/kg rendered prominent reduction of tumor regression parameters such as tumor weight, packed cell volume, tumor volume and viable tumor cell count as compared to the untreated mice of the EAC control group. The anticancer activity of DCM fraction may be due to the presence of large amount of bacoside A, B and cucurbitacins. The molecular docking studies of major metabolites with targeted proteins predicted the anticancer activity of DCM fraction which was in support of in vivo activity.

Conclusion: The in vitro, in vivo, analytical and in silico studies on DCM fraction of Bacopa monieri has proved its great potential for development of anticancer phytopharmaceuticals.

Summary: A new HPTLC method has been developed and validated for the qualitative and quantitative analysis of bacoside A, B, cucurbitacin B, D, E and bittulinic acid in Bacopa monnieri extract. Enrichment of active anticancer metabolites was done by polarity based fractionations of hydroalcoholic extract of Bacopa. DCM fraction of a hydroalcoholic extract of Bacopa showed anticancer potential against human cancer cell line (IC50 41.0-60.0 µg/mL) and in EAC treated mice (at a dose of 40 mg/kg body weight). The anticancer activity of Bacopa may be due to the presence of bacosides and cucurbitacin and it was confirmed by in silico screening. Abbreviations used: DBM: DCM fraction of Bacopa monnieri; DCM: Dichloromethane; EAC: Ehrlich ascites carcinoma; HCT: Hematocrit; HGB: Hemoglobin; HPTLC: High performance thin layer chromatography; ICH: International council for Harmonisation; LOD: Limit of detection; LOQ: Limit of quantification; LYM: Lymphocytes; MCH: Mean corpuscular hemoglobin; MCHC: Mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration (MCHC); MCV: Mean corpuscular volume; MTT: 3-(4, 5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide; PLT: Platelet; RBC: Red blood cell; RDW: Red blood cell distribution width; RSD: Relative standard deviation; WBC: White blood cells.

Keywords: Anticancer; Bacopa monnieri; high-performance thin-layer chromatography; in silico screening.