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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 294143, 11 pages
Research Article

Caspase Mediated Synergistic Effect of Boswellia serrata Extract in Combination with Doxorubicin against Human Hepatocellular Carcinoma

1Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Pharmacy, Hamdard University, Hamdard Nagar, New Delhi 110062, India
2Department of Pharmacognosy & Phytochemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, Hamdard University (Jamia Hamdard), Hamdard Nagar, New Delhi 110062, India

Received 27 February 2014; Revised 20 June 2014; Accepted 23 June 2014; Published 7 August 2014

Academic Editor: Javeed Iqbal

Copyright © 2014 Mohammad Ahmed Khan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The study investigated the growth-inhibiting and apoptosis mediating effects of B. serrata extract as monotherapy and combination therapy with DOX against hepatocellular carcinoma cell lines. Boswellic acid rich fraction of B. serrata extract was prepared. MTT assay on HepG2 and Hep3B cells was carried out using B. serrata alone and in combination with DOX. Further, caspase-3 activity, TNF-α level, and IL-6 level were estimated. Isobolographic analysis was carried out to evaluate the effect of combination therapy. Additionally, protective effect of B. serrata extract on DOX induced hepatic toxicity was also evaluated in Wistar rats. B. serrata extract inhibited growth of HepG2 (IC50 value of μg/mL) as well as HepG2 (IC50 value of μg/mL). DOX inhibited growth in HepG2 and Hep3B cells with an IC50 of μg/mL and μg/mL. Isobolographic analysis showed combination index (CI) of DOX and B. serrata extract of to suggesting synergistic behavior against the two cell lines. B. serrata extract also caused dose dependent increase in caspase-3 activity, TNF-α level, and IL-6 level which was higher () with DOX (1 μM) and B. serrata extract (20 μg/mL) combination. B. serrata extract also protected Wistar rats against DOX induced hepatic toxicity.