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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2016, Article ID 8540640, 10 pages
Research Article

Cytotoxic and Apoptotic Activities of Methanolic Subfractions of Scrophularia oxysepala against Human Breast Cancer Cell Line

1Immunology Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran
2Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, International Branch of Aras, Tabriz, Iran
3Medical Plant Processing Research Center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
4Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Guilan University of Medical Sciences, Rasht, Iran
5Department of Biochemistry and Clinical Laboratories, Faculty of Medicine, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran

Received 18 November 2015; Revised 20 January 2016; Accepted 27 January 2016

Academic Editor: Victor Kuete

Copyright © 2016 Mona Orangi 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.


Herbs have played a positive role in medicine for thousands of years. In the current study, we investigated the cytotoxicity effects of Scrophularia oxysepala methanolic subfractions and the underlying mechanism responsible for cell death in human breast carcinoma (MCF-7 cells) and mouse fibrosarcoma (WEHI-164 cells). From 60% and 80% methanolic fractions, four subfractions (Fa, Fb, Fc, and Fd), yielded from size exclusion by Sephadex-LH20 column chromatography, were chosen. MTT assay revealed that all subfractions significantly reduced cell viability after 24 h and 36 h in a dose-dependent manner; it is worth noting that Fa and Fb subfractions had the highest cytotoxicity, with values of 52.9 and 61.2 μg/mL in MCF-7 at 24 h, respectively. ELISA, TUNEL, and DNA fragmentation assay revealed that antiproliferative effects of all subfractions were associated with apoptosis on cancer cells, without any significant effect on L929 normal cells. qRT-PCR data showed that, after 24 h treatment with concentrations of the subfractions, caspase-3 expression was increased in cancer cells while the expression of Bcl-2 was decreased. S. oxysepala methanolic subfractions induce apoptosis in MCF-7 and WEHI-164 cells and could be considered as a source of natural anticancer agents.