Evaluation of in vitro anticancer activity of 1,8-Cineole-containing n-hexane extract of Callistemon citrinus (Curtis) Skeels plant and its apoptotic potential.Biomed Pharmacother 2017; 93:296-307BP
Plants are the source of a variety of secondary metabolites, which are often used in the anticancer activity. Discovering new anticancer drug from herbal source is more important in both biological and pharmacological activities. Hence, the objective of this study is to identify the anticancer agent in Callistemon citrinus (Curtis) Skeels (CC) for the treatment of cancer. Very recently we have reported an increased antioxidant activity in the ethanolic and methanolic extracts (EE and ME) of CC but significantly reduced activity (rather increased cytotoxicity), in the n-hexane extract (HE). In this study, the cytotoxicity of all the three solvent extracts was tested against A431, MG-63 and HaCaT cell lines by MTT assay. Interestingly HE has showed increased anti-proliferative effect against the cancer cells but was resisted by non-malignant cells. HPLC and GC-MS analysis revealed the presence of 1,8-Cineole as a predominant compound in HE, the semi-purified bioactive extract. Henceforth, this would be called HE-C and be used for further analyses to understand its mode of action on induced apoptosis/necrosis. Alamar blue assay of HE-C showed cytotoxicity and change in morphological characteristics, which was confirmed by AO/EB staining using fluorescence microscopy, ultra-structural features of apoptosis using SEM and TEM. HE-C induced cell death was also detected by FACS using FITC-labelled Annexin-V and Propidium iodide. ROS generation was monitored using DCF-DA by flow cytometry. The overall results suggested that the selective extract (HE-C) containing 1,8-Cineole has shown potential anti-cancer activity in a dose-dependent manner, and cell death was induced through ROS-mediated apoptosis. Our findings provide an insight into the potential of 1,8-Cineole as a novel drug for killing cancer cells.