Objective: Bryonia aspera (Stev. ex Ledeb) is a plant that grows in northeast of Iran. In the present study, cytotoxic and apoptogenic properties of B. aspera root extract was determined against HN-5 (head and neck squamous cell carcinoma) and Hela (cervix adenocarcinoma) cell lines.
Materials and Methods: HN-5 and Hela cell lines were cultured in DMEM medium and incubated with different concentrations of B. aspera root extract. Cell viability was quantitated by MTT assay and the optical absorbance was measured at 570 nm (620 nm as the reference) by an ELISA reader, in each experiment. Apoptotic cells were assessed using PI staining of DNA fragmentation by flow cytometry (sub-G1 peak). The B. aspera inhibited 50% growth (IC50) of Hela and HN-5 cell lines at 100±28 mg/ml and 12.5±4 mg/ml, respectively after 48 hr of incubation.
Results: Cell viability assay showed that inhibitory effects of B. aspera were time and dose-dependent in both cell lines, which were consistent with morphological changes, observed under light microscope. Apoptosis was investigated by flow cytometry in which percentage of apoptotic cells increased in a dose and time-dependent manner.
Conclusion: Based on our data, B. aspera has cytotoxic effects in which apoptosis played an important role. Further evaluations are needed to assess the possible anti-tumor properties of this plant.