In vitro cytotoxic activity of Baccharis dracunculifolia and propolis against HEp-2 cells
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Baccharis dracunculifolia is the most important vegetal source of propolis in southeast Brazil, and researchers have been investigating its biological properties. Propolis is a complex resinous hive product collected by bees from several plants, showing a very complex chemical composition. It has been employed since ancient times due to its therapeutic properties, such as antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, immunomodulatory and antitumour activities, among others. The goal of this work was to compare the cytotoxic action of B. dracunculifolia, propolis and two isolated compounds (caffeic and cinnamic acids) on human laryngeal epidermoid carcinoma (HEp-2) cells in vitro. These cells were incubated with different concentrations of each variable, and cell viability was assessed by the crystal violet method. Lower concentrations of B. dracunculifolia (extract and essential oil), propolis, as well as caffeic and cinnamic acids, showed no cytotoxic activity against HEp-2 cells. on the other hand, elevated concentrations (50 and 100 mu g per 100 mu L) exerted a cytotoxic action, and propolis showed a more efficient action than its vegetal source and isolated compounds. Further investigation is still needed in order to explore the potential of these variables as antitumour agents and to understand their mechanisms of action.