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University of Helsinki (2010)

Lebanese Plants and Plant-Derived Compounds Against Colon Cancer

El-Najjar, Nahed

Titre : Lebanese Plants and Plant-Derived Compounds Against Colon Cancer

Auteur : El-Najjar, Nahed

Université de soutenance : University of Helsinki

Grade : Doctoral thesis 2010

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a major health concern and demands long-term efforts in developing strategies for screening and prevention. CRC has become a preventable disease as a consequence of a better understanding of colorectal carcinogenesis. However, current therapy is unsatisfactory and necessitates the exploration of other approaches for the prevention and treatment of cancer. Plant based products have been recognized as preventive with regard to the development of colon cancer. Therefore, the potential chemopreventive use and mechanism of action of Lebanese natural product were evaluated.
Towards this aim the antitumor activity of Onopordum cynarocephalum and Centaurea ainetensis has been studied using in vitro and in vivo models. In vitro, both crude extracts were non cytotoxic to normal intestinal cells and inhibited the proliferation of colon cancer cells in a dose-dependent manner. In vivo, both crude extracts reduced the number of tumors by an average of 65% at weeks 20 (adenomas stage) and 30 (adenocarcinomas stage). The activity of the C. ainetensis extract was attributed to Salograviolide A, a guaianolide-type sesquiterpene lactone, which was isolated and identified through bio-guided fractionation. The mechanism of action of thymoquinone (TQ), the active component of Nigella sativa, was established in colon cancer cells using in vitro models. By the use of N-acetyl cysteine, a radical scavenger, the direct involvement of reactive oxygen species in TQ-induced apoptotic cells was established. The analytical detection of TQ from spiked serum and its protein binding were evaluated. The average recovery of TQ from spiked serum subjected to several extraction procedures was 2.5% proving the inability of conventional methods to analyze TQ from serum. This has been explained by the extensive binding (>98%) of TQ to serum and major serum components such as bovine serum albumin (BSA) and alpha-1-acid glycoprotein (AGP). Using mass spectrometry analysis, TQ was confirmed to bind covalently to the free cysteine in position 34 and 147 of the amino acid sequence of BSA and AGP, respectively.
The results of this work put at the disposal for future development new plants with anti-cancer activities and enhance the understanding of the pharmaceutical properties of TQ, a prerequisite for its future clinical development.

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