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Open Access Research article

Novel molecular, cytotoxical, and immunological study on promising and selective anticancer activity of Mung bean sprouts

Rand R Hafidh12, Ahmed S Abdulamir23*, Fatimah Abu Bakar2*, Farid Azizi Jalilian45, Faridah Abas6 and Zamberi Sekawi4

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Microbiology, College of Medicine, Baghdad University, Baghdad, Iraq

2 Institute of Bioscience, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM Serdang, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

3 Department of Microbiology, College of Medicine, Al-Nahrain University, Baghdad, Iraq

4 Department of Medical Microbiology and Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM Serdang, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

5 Clinical Microbiology Research Center, Ilam University of Medical Sciences, Ilam, Iran

6 Department of Food Science, Faculty of Food Science and Technology and Institute of Bioscience, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM Serdang, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2012, 12:208  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-208

Published: 5 November 2012

Abstract

Background

The anticancer and immunomodulatory activity of mung bean sprouts (MBS) and the underlying mechanisms against human cervical and hepatocarcinoma cancer cells were explored.

Methods

MBS cytotoxicity and MBS-induced anticancer cytokines, TNF-α and IFN-β from cancer cells, and immunological cytokines, IL-4, IFN-γ, and IL-10 from peripheral mononuclear cells (PMNC) were assessed by MTS and ELISA assays. Apoptotic cells were investigated by flow cytometry. The expression level of apoptotic genes (Bax, BCL-2, Capsases 7–9) and cell cycle regulatory genes (cyclin D, E, and A) and tumor suppressor proteins (p27, p21, and p53) was assessed by real-time qPCR in the cancer cells treated with extract IC50.

Results

The cytotoxicity on normal human cells was significantly different from HeLa and HepG2 cells, 163.97 ± 5.73, 13.3 ± 0.89, and 14.04 ± 1.5 mg/ml, respectively. The selectivity index (SI) was 12.44 ± 0.83 for HeLa and 11.94 ± 1.2 for HepG2 cells. Increased levels of TNF-α and IFN-β were observed in the treated HeLa and HepG2 culture supernatants when compared with untreated cells. MBS extract was shown to be an immunopolarizing agent by inducing IFNγ and inhibiting IL-4 production by PBMC; this leads to triggering of CMI and cellular cytotoxicity. The extract induced apoptosis, in a dose and time dependent manner, in treated HeLa and HepG2, but not in untreated, cells (P < 0.05). The treatment significantly induced cell cycle arrest in G0/G1 in HeLa cells. The percentage of cells in G0/G1 phase of the treated HeLa cells increased from 62.87 ± 2.1%, in untreated cells, to 80.48 ± 2.97%. Interestingly, MBS IC50 induced the expression of apoptosis and tumor suppressor related genes in both HeLa and HepG2 cells. MBS extract succeeded in inducing cdk-inhibitors, p21, p53, and p27 in HeLa cells while it induced only p53 in HepG2 cells (P < 0.05). This is a clue for the cell type- specific interaction of the studied extract. These proteins inhibit the cyclin-cdk complexes apart from the presence of some other components that might stimulate some cyclins such as cyclin E, A, and D.

Conclusion

MBS extract was shown to be a potent anticancer agent granting new prospects of anticancer therapy using natural products.