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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 892170, 10 pages
Research Article

Dracocephalum: Novel Anticancer Plant Acting on Liver Cancer Cell Mitochondria

1Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Faculty of Pharmacy, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, P.O. Box 14155-6153, Tehran, Iran
2Ayatollah Taleghani Educational Hospital, Faculty of Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, P.O. Box 14155-6153, Tehran, Iran

Received 28 February 2014; Revised 14 June 2014; Accepted 30 June 2014; Published 17 July 2014

Academic Editor: Vickram Ramkumar

Copyright © 2014 Mojtaba Talari 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.


Dracocephalum kotschyi Boiss. (Labiatae) is a native Iranian medicinal plant which has been used in combination with Peganum harmala L. as a remedy for many forms of human cancer especially leukemia and gastrointestinal malignancies. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the third leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide. In this investigation HCC was induced by a single intraperitoneal injection of diethylnitrosamine (DEN) in corn oil at 200 mg/kg body weight to rats. Two weeks after DEN administration, cancer development was promoted with dietary 2-acetylaminofluorene (2-AAF) (0.02%, w/w) for 2 weeks. Serum alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) concentration, serum alanine transaminase (ALT), aspartate transaminase (AST), and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activities were also determined for confirmation of hepatocellular carcinoma induction. Then rat hepatocytes were isolated with collagen perfusion technique and tumoral hepatocytes were sorted by flow cytometry. Finally isolated mitochondria obtained from both tumoral and nontumoral hepatocytes were used for any probable toxic effect of Dracocephalum kotschyi ethanolic extract. Our results showed that D. kotschyi extract (250 µg/mL) induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation, mitochondrial membrane permeabilization (MMP), and mitochondrial swelling and cytochrome c release only in tumoral but not nontumoral hepatocyte. These findings propose Dracocephalum kotschyi as a promising candidate for future anticancer research.