African Journal of Biotechnology

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Alteration of Bax-to-Bcl-2 ratio modulates the anticancer activity of methanolic extract of Commelina benghalensis (Commelinaceae) in Jurkat T cells

VG Mbazima, MP Mokgotho, F February, DJG Rees, LJM Mampuru


Stem extracts of Commelina benghalensis (Linn.), although not extensively documented, are frequently used in traditional medicine for the treatment of ailments such as skin malformations and outgrowths.
Accordingly, the study was aimed to investigate possible molecular mechanisms that are associated with the potential anti-carcinogenic property of this agrofield weed. Jurkat T cells were exposed to
different concentrations (0-600 mg/ml) of the crude methanolic extract of C. benghalensis to evaluate their growth inhibitory and apoptosis inducing effects. The extract elicited a dose- and time-dependent
inhibition of cell proliferation, followed by a concomitant decrease in cell viability. The observed cytotoxicity was linked to the induction of apoptosis as determined by morphological and biochemical
features known to be associated with the advent of apoptosis. Real time quantitative RT-PCR and Western blot analyses of Bax, Bcl-2 and p53 exhibited aberrant expression profiles of these genes under various treatment conditions. Taken together, the data suggest that the crude methanolic extract of C. benghalensis contains bioactive compounds that may be beneficial in the treatment of malignant growths, and that this apparent antineoplastic activity is a consequence of dysregulated expression of apoptosis-responsive genes. These observations could provide a credible scientific justification upon which the ethnopharmacological utilisation of C. benghalensis is founded.

AJOL African Journals Online