Alkaloids extracted from Pterogyne nitens induce apoptosis in malignant breast cell line
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In the present study, two alkaloids isolated from Pterogyne nitens, a plant native to Brazil, have been shown to induce apoptosis in human breast cancer cells. These compounds, pterogynine (PGN) and pterogynidine (PGD), were tested for their effect on a human infiltrating ductal carcinoma cell line (ZR-7531). The cell line was treated with each alkaloid at several concentrations. Time-dependence (with or without recuperation time) and concentration-dependence (in the range 0.25-10 mM) were investigated in cytotoxicity and apoptosis assays. The annexin assay indicated an apparently higher percentage of death by necrosis of malignant cells after 24 h exposure to both P. nitens extracts than the Hoechst assay. Thus, our results in the two tests demonstrated that the Hoechst assay can discriminate between late apoptotic cells and necrosis, whereas the flow cytometry-based annexin V assay cannot. We concluded that PGN and PGD have effective antineoplastic activity against human breast cancer cells in vitro, by inducing programmed cell death.
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