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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2011, Article ID 160682, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ecam/nep214
Original Article

Analyzing Cytotoxic and Apoptogenic Properties of Scutellaria litwinowii Root Extract on Cancer Cell Lines

1Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Iran
2Pharmacological Research Centre of Medicinal Plants, School of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Iran
3Department of Pharmacognosy, School of Pharmacy, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Iran
4Medical Toxicology Research Center, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

Received 15 July 2009; Accepted 24 November 2009

Copyright © 2011 Zahra Tayarani-Najaran 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.

Abstract

The Scutellaria species (Lamiaceae) is used as a source of flavonoids to treat a variety of diseases in traditional medicine. In spite of many reports about the cytotoxic and antitumor effects of some species of this genus, anticancer researches on one of the Iranian species S. litwinowii have not yet been conducted. The cytotoxic properties of total methanol extract of S. litwinowii and its fractions were investigated on different cancer cell lines including AGS, HeLa, MCF-7, PC12 and NIH 3T3. Meanwhile, the role of apoptosis in this toxicity was explored. The cells were cultured in DMEM medium and incubated with different concentrations of herb plant extracts. Cell viability was quantitated by MTT assay. Apoptotic cells were determined using propidium iodide staining of DNA fragmentation by flow cytometry (sub-G1 peak). Scutellaria litwinowii inhibited the growth of malignant cells in a dose-dependent manner. Among solvent fractions of S. litwinowii, the methylene chloride fraction was found to be more toxic compared to other fractions. The IC50 values of this fraction against AGS, HeLa, MCF-7 and PC12 cell lines after 24 h were determined, 121.2 ± 3.1, 40.9 ± 2.5, 115.9 ± 3.5 and 64.5 ± 3.4 μg/ml, respectively. Scutellaria litwinowii induced a sub-G1 peak in the flow cytometry histogram of treated cells compared to control cells indicating that apoptotic cell death is involved in S. litwinowii toxicity. Scutellaria litwinowii exerts cytotoxic and proapototic effects in a variety of malignant cell lines and could be considered as a potential chemotherapeutic agent in cancer treatment.