Gurgem-7 toxicity assessment: Regulation of cell survival or death by traditional Mongolian prescription

Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2022 Jul 1:239:113660. doi: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2022.113660. Epub 2022 May 20.


Surgical treatments and chemotherapy are the most commonly used methods of colorectal cancer treatment (CRC), unfortunately, these therapies have many side effects. Moreover, despite advances in primary and adjuvant treatments, the survival time in CRC patients is still unsatisfactory. Treatment options for patients with CRC continue to advance and recent research has shown that colorectal cancer is sensitive to plant-derived substances. The use of natural compounds contained in herbal extracts for the treatment of colon cancer or as adjunctive therapy for CRC gives patients a wide range of treatment options. In this study, we evaluate the potential toxicity of the Mongolian preparation - Gurgem-7 composed of Crocus sativus, Veronica officinalis, Capsella bursa-pastoris, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, Calendula officinalis, Gentiana lutea, and Terminalia chebula. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine its biological activities, biochemical and molecular features in vitro and composition analysis by HPLC-ESI-QTOF-MS/MS platform. We identified 18 metabolites and 8 of them were quantified. Majority of the secondary metabolites belonged to the group of phenolic constituents with taxifolin, chlorogenic acids' family, hydroxysafflor yellow A and hydroxybenzoic acid as leading compounds. In turn, our in vitro results suggest that the preparation inhibits cell metabolic activity through oxidative stress, numerous DNA damage and cell cycle arrest. Simultaneously enzymatic and non-enzymatic cell protection mechanisms mediated by TP53/Keap1 and Nrf2/HO-1 pathways may be activated in a cell-specific manner in vitro. In conclusion, we provide preliminary molecular evidence of the toxic properties of Gurgem-7 preparation to Caco-2 and CT26. WT cells related to insufficient action of their repair and adaptive mechanisms to stress conditions.

Keywords: CT26.WT; Caco-2; Gurgem-7; HPLC-ESI-QTOF-MS/MS; Mongolian preparations; Nrf2/HO-1; TP53/Keap1.

MeSH terms

  • Caco-2 Cells
  • Cell Survival
  • Colorectal Neoplasms*
  • Humans
  • Kelch-Like ECH-Associated Protein 1
  • Medicine, Mongolian Traditional* / adverse effects
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2
  • Plant Extracts* / toxicity
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry


  • Kelch-Like ECH-Associated Protein 1
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2
  • Plant Extracts