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Open Access Research article

In vitro antiproliferative/cytotoxic activity on cancer cell lines of a cardanol and a cardol enriched from Thai Apis mellifera propolis

Dungporn Teerasripreecha1, Preecha Phuwapraisirisan2, Songchan Puthong3, Kiyoshi Kimura4, Masayuki Okuyama5, Haruhide Mori5, Atsuo Kimura5 and Chanpen Chanchao16*

Author affiliations

1 Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, 254 Phayathai Road, Bangkok 10330, Thailand

2 Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, 254 Phayathai Road, Bangkok, 10330, Thailand

3 Institute of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering, Chulalongkorn University, 254 Phayathai Road, Bangkok 10330, Thailand

4 Honeybee Research Group, National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science, Ibaraki 305-0901, Japan

5 Division of Applied Bioscience, Graduate School of Agriculture, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 060-8589, Japan

6 Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, 254 Phayathai Road, Bangkok 10330, Thailand

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Citation and License

BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2012, 12:27  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-27

Published: 30 March 2012

Abstract

Background

Propolis is a complex resinous honeybee product. It is reported to display diverse bioactivities, such as antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor properties, which are mainly due to phenolic compounds, and especially flavonoids. The diversity of bioactive compounds depends on the geography and climate, since these factors affect the floral diversity. Here, Apis mellifera propolis from Nan province, Thailand, was evaluated for potential anti-cancer activity.

Methods

Propolis was sequentially extracted with methanol, dichloromethane and hexane and the cytotoxic activity of each crude extract was assayed for antiproliferative/cytotoxic activity in vitro against five human cell lines derived from duet carcinoma (BT474), undifferentiated lung (Chaco), liver hepatoblastoma (Hep-G2), gastric carcinoma (KATO-III) and colon adenocarcinoma (SW620) cancers. The human foreskin fibroblast cell line (Hs27) was used as a non-transformed control. Those crude extracts that displayed antiproliferative/cytotoxic activity were then further fractionated by column chromatography using TLC-pattern and MTT-cytotoxicity bioassay guided selection of the fractions. The chemical structure of each enriched bioactive compound was analyzed by nuclear magnetic resonance and mass spectroscopy.

Results

The crude hexane and dichloromethane extracts of propolis displayed antiproliferative/cytotoxic activities with IC50 values across the five cancer cell lines ranging from 41.3 to 52.4 μg/ml and from 43.8 to 53.5 μg/ml, respectively. Two main bioactive components were isolated, one cardanol and one cardol, with broadly similar in vitro antiproliferation/cytotoxicity IC50 values across the five cancer cell lines and the control Hs27 cell line, ranging from 10.8 to 29.3 μg/ml for the cardanol and < 3.13 to 5.97 μg/ml (6.82 - 13.0 μM) for the cardol. Moreover, both compounds induced cytotoxicity and cell death without DNA fragmentation in the cancer cells, but only an antiproliferation response in the control Hs27 cells However, these two compounds did not account for the net antiproliferation/cytotoxic activity of the crude extracts suggesting the existence of other potent compounds or synergistic interactions in the propolis extracts.

Conclusion

This is the first report that Thai A. mellifera propolis contains at least two potentially new compounds (a cardanol and a cardol) with potential anti-cancer bioactivity. Both could be alternative antiproliferative agents for future development as anti-cancer drugs.

Keywords:
Antiproliferative activity; Apis mellifera; Propolis; Cancer cell; Cardanol; Cardol