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Novel acylated steroidal glycosides from Caralluma tuberculata induce caspase-dependent apoptosis in cancer cells

Waheed, Abdul, Barker, James, Barton, Stephen J., Khan, Gul-Majid, Najm-us-Saqib, Qazi, Hussain, Manzoor, Ahmed, Sabbir, Owen, Caroline, Carew, Mark A.
Journal of ethnopharmacology 2011 v.137 no.3 pp. 1189-1196
Caralluma, DNA, DNA fragmentation, Western blotting, acetates, adenosine diphosphate, agonists, apoptosis, breast neoplasms, caspases, cytotoxicity, drugs, dyes, fractionation, glycosides, humans, ribose, shrinkage, spectral analysis, steroids, viability
AIM OF THE STUDY: Pregnane glycosides are potent cytotoxic agents which may represent new leads in the development of anti-tumour drugs, particularly in the treatment of breast cancer, because of the structural similarity to estrogenic agonists. Caralluma species are natural sources of a wide variety of pregnane glycosides. The aim of the study was to isolate, using an activity-guided fractionation approach, novel pregnane glycosides for testing on breast cancer and other tumour lines. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The effect of crude extracts, specific organic fractions and isolated compounds from Caralluma tuberculata was tested on the growth and viability of MCF-7 estrogen-dependent, and MDA-MB-468 estrogen-independent breast cancer cells, Caco-2 human colonic cells, HUVECs and U937 cells. Neutral red uptake and MTT assays were used. Apoptosis was detected by Western blot of poly-(ADP ribose) polymerase (PARP) as were other markers of nuclear fragmentation (DNA ladder assay, staining of cells with nuclear dye DAPI). The involvement of caspases was investigated using the pan-caspase inhibitor Z-VAD-FMK. RESULTS: The ethyl acetate fraction of Caralluma tuberculata was found to be the most potent anti-proliferative fraction against all three cancer cell lines. Two novel steroidal glycosides were isolated from the active fraction after a series of chromatographic experiments. The structure of the isolated compounds was elucidated solely based on 2D-NMR (HMBC, HETCOR, DQF-COSY) and MS spectral analysis as compound 1: 12-O-benzoyl-20-O-acetyl-3β,12β,14β,20β-tetrahydroxy-pregnan-3-ylO-β-D-glucopyranosyl-(1→4)-β-d-glucopyranosyl-(1→4)-3-methoxy-β-d-ribopyranoside, and as compound 2: 7-O-acetyl-12-O-benzoyl-3β,7β,12β,14β-tetrahydroxy-17β-(3-methylbutyl-O-acetyl-1-yl)-androstan-3-ylO-β-d-glucopyranosyl-(1→4)-6-deoxy-β-d-allopyranosyl-(1→4)-β-d-cymaropyranosyl-(1→4)-β-d-cymapyranosyl-(1→4)-β-d-cymaropyranoside. Compound 1 (pregnane glycoside) and compound 2 (androstan glycoside) induced apoptosis at <25μM after 48h as assessed by cell shrinkage, PARP cleavage, DNA fragmentation, and reversal with the caspase inhibitor. CONCLUSIONS: Two novel steroid glycosides isolated from Caralluma tuberculata possess moderate, micromolar cytotoxic activity on breast cancer and other cells in vitro, which may indicate a source of activity in vivo of interest to future drug design.