The selective anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic effect of A. cherimola on MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell line

Maria Younes, Carl Ammoury, Tony Haykal, Leah Nasr, Rita Sarkis, Sandra Rizk
BMC complementary medicine and therapies 2020 November 13, 20 (1): 343

BACKGROUND: Herbal medicines have been a major target for numerous studies through the past years as an alternative treatment for cancer, mainly due to their minimal effects on normal healthy cells. Annona cherimola, popularly known as Cherimoya, is an edible natural fruit rich in phytochemical components and known to possess various biological activities. Previous studies have reported the anti-cancerous effect of A. cherimola ethanolic leaf extract (AELE) on leukemia. This study aims at studying the potential anti-cancer activity of this extract in vitro in two different breast cancer cell lines, namely MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7, in addition to investigating its toxicity on normal mesenchymal stem cells.

METHODS: The anti-proliferative effect of AELE was evaluated via cell viability assay. Propidium iodide staining, Cell Death Detection ELISA and flow cytometry analysis of Annexin V binding were used to assess cell cycle progression, DNA fragmentation and apoptosis induction, respectively. Protein expression was determined via Western Blot analysis to decipher the underlying apoptotic molecular mechanism induced upon AELE treatment.

RESULTS: The anti-proliferative effect of the extract was found to be selective on the triple-negative breast cancer cell line (MDA-MB-231) in a time- and dose-dependent manner with an IC50 of 390.2 μg/mL at 48 h, with no cytotoxic effects on normal murine mesenchymal stem cells. The pro-apoptotic effect was confirmed by the increase in cellular and DNA fragmentation, flipping of the phosphatidylserine moiety to the outer leaflet, and the increase in Annexin V binding. The underlying molecular mechanism revealed the involvement of the mitochondrial pathway, as shown by alterations in mitochondrial permeability and the upregulation of cytochrome c expression.

CONCLUSION: All the data presented in our study suggest that AELE exhibits a selective anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic effect on the chemo-resistant MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells, providing evidence for the anti-tumor effects of A. cherimola.

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