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BioMed Research International
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 2413197, 9 pages
Research Article

In Vitro Anticancer Effect of Gedunin on Human Teratocarcinomal (NTERA-2) Cancer Stem-Like Cells

Institute of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Colombo, 90 Cumaratunga Munidasa Mawatha, 03 Colombo, Sri Lanka

Correspondence should be addressed to Sameera Ranganath Samarakoon

Received 5 April 2017; Accepted 9 May 2017; Published 7 June 2017

Academic Editor: Dong-Wook Han

Copyright © 2017 Luxmiga Tharmarajah 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.


Gedunin is one of the major compounds found in the neem tree (Azadirachta indica). In the present study, antiproliferative potential of gedunin was evaluated in human embryonal carcinoma cells (NTERA-2, a cancer stem cell model) and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), using Sulforhodamine (SRB) and WST-1 assays, respectively. The effects of gedunin on expression of heat shock protein 90 (HSP90), its cochaperone Cdc37, and HSP client proteins (AKT, ErbB2, and HSF1) were evaluated by real-time PCR. Effects of gedunin on apoptosis were evaluated by (a) apoptosis associated morphological changes, (b) caspase 3/7 expression, (c) DNA fragmentation, (d) TUNEL assay, and (e) real-time PCR of apoptosis related genes (Bax, p53, and survivin). Gedunin showed a promising antiproliferative effect in NTERA-2 cells with IC50 values of 14.59, 8.49, and 6.55 μg/mL at 24, 48, and 72 h after incubations, respectively, while exerting a minimal effect on PBMCs. Expression of HSP90, its client proteins, and survivin was inhibited and Bax and p53 were upregulated by gedunin. Apoptosis related morphological changes, DNA fragmentation, and increased caspase 3/7 activities confirmed the proapoptotic effects of gedunin. Collectively, results indicate that gedunin may be a good drug lead for treatment of chemo and radiotherapy resistant cancer stem cells.