Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally. Although, there are many different approaches to cancer treatment, they are often painful due to adverse side effects and are sometimes ineffective due to increasing resistance to classical anti-cancer drugs or radiation therapy. Targeting delayed/inhibited apoptosis is a major approach in cancer treatment and a highly active area of research. Plant derived natural compounds are of major interest due to their high bioavailability, safety, minimal side effects and, most importantly, cost effectiveness. Flavonoids have gained importance as anti-cancer agents and have shown great potential as cytotoxic anti-cancer agents promoting apoptosis in cancer cells. In this review, a summary of flavonoids and their effectiveness in cancer treatment targeting apoptosis has been discussed.
Abstract. Background: Since MAP kinases represent an important pathway of transducing external stimuli to internal signals in cells, determining their possible role in cancer cells may offer a promising way for the treatment and prognosis of malignant diseases. Our previous experiments have shown that a flavonoid-rich solution, Flavin7, was able to diminish kidney tumor growth in vivo. Materials and Methods: Effects of Flavin7 on the MAPK signaling pathway were determined in immortalized mouse proximal tubule cells by determining cell viability, flow cytometric analysis, luciferase assays and Western blots. Results: At a nontoxic dose, Flavin7 markedly reduced phosphorylation of ERK and inhibited activity of its downstream targets such as Elk1 and CREB via inhibition of the ERK-kinase MEK1. Conclusion: Because of its ability to temporarily inhibit kidney tumor growth and activation of the MEK1/ERK pathway in vitro, further in vivo investigations may determine the potential role of Flavin7 in the treatment of malignancies. The mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascade is a major signaling system by which cells transduce extracellular signals into intracellular responses. Many steps of this cascade are conserved, and homologs have been discovered in different species (1). The first three mammalian MAP kinases, ERK1, ERK2 and ERK3 were cloned in the early 1990s, facilitating the development of reagents for their study. It has become clear that ERK1 and ERK2 are among the protein kinases most commonly activated in signal transduction pathways. They have particularly been linked to cell proliferation, but have important roles in many other events (2-4). In mammalian cells, ERK1 and ERK2, often referred to as p44 and p42 MAP kinases, are the archetypal members of the MAPK family. Therefore, determining the possible role of MAPKs in cancer cells may offer a promising way for treatment and prognosis of cancerous diseases. According to recent results, activation of the ERK pathway is a frequent event in tumorigenesis. ERK has been implicated in cell initiation, tumor promotion and progression, invasion, metastasis, and regulation of apoptosis and angiogenesis, events that are essential for successful completion of developing a metastatic tumor (reviewed in 5). On the other hand, ERK activation is not unambiguously an advantage or a disadvantage for patients with cancerous diseases, since it has been shown to trigger cell proliferation and survival in normal cells, as well as in tumor cells. Flavonoids, found in great quantity in fruit extracts, are secondary metabolites of superior plants exhibiting antitumor effects. They are known to exert antioxidant and antiproliferative effects on tumor cells (6). Recent studies have speculated that the classical antioxidant activity of flavonoids is unlikely to be the sole explanation for their cellular effects. This hypothesis is based on several lines of reasoning: i) flavonoids are extensively metabolized in vivo, thus, their redox potentials are significantly altered (7), and ii) the concentrations of flavonoids and their metabolites accumulated in vivo are lower than those of small of antioxidant nutrients (8). Investigations have indicated that flavonoids may selectively interact with the MAPK signaling pathway due to their ability to inhibit tyrosine kinase activity (9, 10). A natural compound, Flavin7 (F7), composed of the extracts from seven different fruits, was investigated in our kidney tumor animal model (11). Ne/De tumor cells were transplanted underneath the renal capsule of 6- to 8-weekold Fisher344 rats and animals were treated with human 871 Correspondence to: Edit Nádasi, MD, Ph.D., Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, University of Pécs, 7624 Pécs, Szigeti u. 12, Hungary. Tel: +36 72 536394, Fax: +36 72 536395, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Key Words: Flavin7 extract, plant-derived natural compounds, mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway, anticarcinogenic effect. in vivo 21: 871-876 (2007) Effect of a Plant-derived Natural Compound, Flavin7, on the ERK Signaling Pathway in Immortalized Mouse Proximal Tubule Cells EDIT NÁDASI1,2, ISTVÁN EMBER2 and ISTVÁN ARANY1 1Department of Internal Medicine, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Central Arkansas Veteran HealthCare System, Little Rock, AR 72205, U.S.A.; 2Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, University of Pécs, 7624 Pécs, Hungary 0258-851X/2007 $2.00+.40 dose-equivalent F7 solution according to the manufacturer’s instructions. After two weeks of treatment rats were sacrificed and tumor growth was determined. F7 significantly (p<0.05) reduced tumor growth in vivo. Accordingly, the aim of this study was to determine whether F7 influences the ERK signaling pathway in immortalized mouse renal proximal tubule cells.
BACKGROUND: Airway epithelium is the first line of defense against a variety of exposures. Inflammatory processes, hyperresponsiveness and zinc deficiency cause epithelial damage. Zinc is involved in apoptosis and microtubule formation. However, its role in the integrity of bronchial mucosa and cilia is unclear.
METHODS: To assess the effect of zinc on the integrity of the bronchial epithelium, 24 male Rattus norvegicus strain Wistar rats were randomized into four experimental groups: normal zinc diet group without zinc supplementation, normal zinc diet group with 60 ppm zinc supplementation, zinc deficient diet group without zinc supplementation, and zinc deficient diet group with 120 ppm zinc supplementation. Bronchial mucosal integrity was measured with the number of epithelial cells, and the number and length of cilia.
RESULTS: Number of cell in normal zinc diet group was 8.8±1.82, while it was only 8.1±1.08 in zinc deficient diet group (p<0.001). Number of cilia per cell was 4.6±1.08 in normal zinc diet group, compared to 4.0±0.79 in zinc deficient diet group (p<0.001). Ciliary length also differ by 7.68±0.66 μm in normal zinc diet group and only 5.16±0.91 μm in zinc deficient diet group (p<0.001).
CONCLUSION: Zinc supplementation of the normal zinc diet group affected the length of bronchial cilia. Zinc supplementation of the zinc deficient diet group affected the integrity of the bronchial epithelium, which was shown by the number and length of cilia, and the number of epithelial cells.
Natural products have become increasingly important in pharmaceutical discoveries, and traditional herbalism has been a pioneering specialty in biomedical science. The search for effective plant-derived anticancer agents has continued to gain momentum in recent years. The present study aimed to investigate the role of crude extracts of the aerial parts of Artemisia absinthium (AA) extract in modulating intracellular signaling mechanisms, in particular its ability to inhibit cell proliferation and promote apoptosis in a human breast carcinoma estrogenic-unresponsive cell line, MDA-MB-231, and an estrogenic-responsive cell line, MCF-7. Cells were incubated with various concentrations of AA, and anti-proliferative activity was assessed by MTT assays, fluorescence microscopy after propidium iodide staining, western blotting and cell cycle analysis. Cell survival assays indicated that AA was cytotoxic to both MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 cells. The morphological features typical of nucleic staining and the accumulation of sub-G1 peak revealed that the extract triggered apoptosis. Treatment with 25 μg/mL AA resulted in activation of caspase-7 and upregulation of Bad in MCF-7 cells, while exposure to 20 μg/mL AA induced upregulation of Bcl-2 protein in a time-dependent response in MDA-MB-231 cells. Both MEK1/2 and ERK1/2 was inactivated in both cell lines after AA treatment in a time-dependent manner. These results suggest that AA-induced anti-proliferative effects on human breast cancer cells could possibly trigger apoptosis in both cell lines through the modulation of Bcl-2 family proteins and the MEK/ERK pathway. This might lead to its possible development as a therapeutic agent for breast cancer following further investigations.
Prevention of cardiovascular disease through nutritional supplements is growing in popularity throughout the world. Multiple epidemiologic studies found that moderate consumption of alcohol, particularly red wine, lowers mortality rates from coronary heart diseases (CHD). Chronic inflammation and atherosclerosis associated with CHD culminate in aberrant intravascular expression of tissue factor (TF), which triggers blood coagulation leading to thrombosis, a major cause for heart attack. We showed earlier that two red wine phenolics, resveratrol and quercetin, suppressed TF induction in endothelial cells. In the present study, we investigated efficacy of seven resveratrol derivatives, which were shown to be effective in regulating cancer cell growth in vitro at much lower concentrations than the parent compound resveratrol, in inhibiting TF induction in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). We also tested possible synergistic effects of resveratrol and quercetin with the other major red wine phenolics in suppression of lipopolysaccharide-induced TF expression in human PBMCs. We found that several resveratrol derivatives were 2- to 10-fold more efficient than resveratrol in inhibiting TF induction. Our study found no evidence for synergism among red wine polyphenolics. These data suggest that structural alterations of resveratrol can be effective in producing potent antithrombotic agents that will have therapeutic potential in the improvement of cardiovascular health and prevention of CHD. Among major red wine phenolics, quercetin appears to be the predominant suppressor of TF induction.