Based on traditional medicinal
use Apium graveolens seed was
selected to evaluate its anti-cancer property with special reference to
apoptosis induction, if any. When the water, alcohol and hexane extracts of the
dried powder of the plant seeds were tested for cytotoxicity to Dalton’s
Lymphoma Acitic (DLA) cells in vitro
using Tryphan blue method, only the n-hexane extract showed significant
activity at 500 µg/ml level. The extract induced apoptosis as evidenced by
morphological changes. The cytotoxicity of this extract was found to be more to
cancer cells (DLA) compared to normal cells (thymocytes and macrophages). An
active chloroform fraction was separated from this extract. The active fraction
at a dose of 200 mg/kg protected 75 % of the mice challenged with 1 X 106 DLA
cells whereas all untreated control mice died of cancer. Thin Layer
Chromatography (TLC) on silica gel further separated this anticancer fraction
into 2 cytotoxic components. One of them was identified as a steroid positive
component whereas the other was an alkaloid positive component. The steroid
component induced apoptotic cell death while the other component induced
necrotic cell death. These components are attractive materials for further
studies leading to possible anti-cancer drug development.
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