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Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research

Print version ISSN 0100-879XOn-line version ISSN 1414-431X


SACOMAN, J.L. et al. Cytotoxicity and antitumoral activity of dichloromethane extract and its fractions from Pothomorphe umbellata. Braz J Med Biol Res [online]. 2008, vol.41, n.5, pp.411-415. ISSN 1414-431X.

The cytotoxicity of the dichloromethane crude extract (DCE), obtained from the aerial parts of Pothomorphe umbellata (L.) Miq (Piperaceae), was evaluated against nine human cancer cell lines (MCF-7, NCI-ADR/RES, OVCAR-3, PC-3, HT-29, NCI-H460, 786-O, UACC-62, K-562). The DCE presented antiproliferative activity with good potency against all cell lines at low concentrations (between 4.0 and 9.5 µg/mL) and with selectivity (1.55 µg/mL) for the leukemia cell line (K-652). DCE (100, 200, 300 and 400 mg/kg, ip) was also evaluated in the Ehrlich ascites tumor model. Both the survival number and the life span of the animals that died increased by at least 45 and 50%, respectively (8 animals per group), demonstrating P. umbellata extract potential anticancer activity. The results of the in vivo antitumor activity prompted the fractionation of the crude extract. The crude extract was submitted to dry column chromatography with dichloromethane-methanol (99:1). The column effluent fractions were extracted with methanol, dried under vacuum yielding fractions FR1 (less polar), FR2 (medium polarity), and FR3 (polar), which were analyzed for their growth inhibition or cytotoxic properties by a 48-h sulforhodamine B cell viability assay by measuring the total protein content. FR1 demonstrated high potency and cytotoxicity, a result compatible with the high toxicity of oxalic acid; FR2, containing 4-nerolidylcathecol, presented the lowest cytotoxic activity compared to the other two fractions but with selectivity for prostate cancer cell line; FR3, containing a mixture of steroids described in the literature as possessing various biological activities, also presented potent anticancer in vitro activity. These results suggest that P. umbellata DCE in vivo antitumor activity may be a consequence of the activity of different active principles.

Keywords : Pothomorphe umbellata; Piperaceae; Antitumor activity; Ehrlich ascites tumor.

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