Moringa oleifera Lam. (MO) is one of the most well-known and widely distributed species of the Moringaceae family in African communities, and various preparations of M. oleifera are used for the treatment of several diseases. Due to the extensive worldwide use of MO products, and the use of MO aqueous extract in traditional African medicine, the aim of the present study was to investigate the anti-proliferative, cytotoxic and pro-apoptotic activities of different aqueous extracts from leaves and seeds of M. oleifera (MOE), which have been prepared using different protocols, in lymphoid and monocytoid cells. The results of the present study demonstrated the anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic effects of the aqueous extracts obtained from M. oleifera leaves and seeds on tumour cells; however, not on peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from healthy donors. The pro-apoptotic effect of MO seed aqueous extract (MOE-S) was correlated with decreased B-cell lymphoma 2 (BCL2) and sirtuin-1 (SIRT1) protein expression, which are involved in apoptosis. Considering the effects of plant secondary metabolites on human cells and the role of plant microRNA in cross-kingdom interactions, the presence of secondary metabolites and microRNA in MOE was characterised. In conclusion, M. oleifera aqueous extracts appeared to be able to differentially regulate proliferation and apoptosis in healthy cells and cancer cells, and this ability could be associated with the microRNA present in the extracts. These results highlighted the possible use of MOE as an adjuvant in traditional cancer therapy.
Keywords: Moringa oleifera; apoptosis; cross-Kingdom; plant microRNA.