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In Vitro Comparative Study on Antineoplastic Effects of Pinoresinol and Lariciresinol on Healthy Cells and Breast Cancer-Derived Human Cells.

BACKGROUND: Herbal medicines are the preferred anticancer agents due to their lower cytotoxic effects on healthy cells. Plant lignans play an important role in treating various diseases, especially cancer. The present study aimed to evaluate the effect of podophyllotoxin, pinoresinol, and lariciresinol on cellular toxicity and inducing apoptosis in fibroblasts, HEK-293, and SkBr3 cell lines.

METHODS: An in vitro study was conducted from 2017 to 2019 at the Faculty of Biological Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University (Tehran, Iran). The cell lines were treated for 24 and 48 hours with different concentrations of lignans. Cell viability and apoptosis were examined using MTT and flow cytometry, respectively. Expression levels of cell cycle and apoptosis regulator genes were determined using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Data were analyzed using a two-way analysis of variance followed by Tukey's HSD test. P<0.05 was considered statistically significant.

RESULTS: Podophyllotoxin significantly increased apoptosis in fibroblast cells compared to pinoresinol and lariciresinol (P<0.001). The percentage of cell viability of fibroblast cells treated for 48 hours with pinoresinol, lariciresinol, and podophyllotoxin was reduced by 49%, 47%, and 36%, respectively. Treatment with pinoresinol and lariciresinol significantly overexpressed pro-apoptotic genes and underexpressed anti-apoptotic genes in SkBr3 cells (P<0.001). SkBr3 cells treated with lariciresinol significantly reduced gene expression (P<0.001).

CONCLUSION: Pinoresinol and lariciresinol can potentially be used as new therapeutic agents for the treatment of breast cancer.

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