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Conventional solvent fractionation and bioactivity based target assays were used to identify a new anti-cancer molecule from Phyllanthus urinaria, a herbal medicinal plant used in South India. At each step of the purification process the different fractions that were isolated were tested for specific anti-proliferative activity by assays measuring the inhibition of [(3)H]thymidine incorporation, and trypan blue drug exclusion. The ethyl acetate fraction that contained the bioactivity was further purified and resolved by HPLC on a preparative column. The purity of each of the fractions and their bioactivity were checked. Fraction 3 demonstrated a single spot on TLC and showed maximum anti-proliferative activity. This fraction was further purified and the structure was defined as 7'-hydroxy-3',4',5,9,9'-pentamethoxy-3,4-methylene dioxy lignan using NMR and mass spectrometry analysis. The pure compound and the crude ethyl acetate fraction which showed anti-proliferative activities were examined for ability to target specific markers of apoptosis like bcl2, c-myc and caspases and for effects on telomerase. Four specific cancer cell lines HEp2, EL-1 monocytes, HeLa and MCP7 were used in this study. The results indicate that 7'-hydroxy-3',4',5,9,9'-pentamethoxy-3,4-methylene dioxy lignan was capable of inhibiting telomerase activity and also could inhibit bcl2 and activate caspase 3 and caspase 8 whose significance in the induction of apoptosis is well known. We believe that this compound could serve as a valuable chemotherapeutic drug after further evaluations. Copyright 2002 Cancer Research UK


P Giridharan, S T Somasundaram, K Perumal, R A Vishwakarma, N P Karthikeyan, R Velmurugan, A Balakrishnan. Novel substituted methylenedioxy lignan suppresses proliferation of cancer cells by inhibiting telomerase and activation of c-myc and caspases leading to apoptosis. British journal of cancer. 2002 Jul 1;87(1):98-105

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PMID: 12085264

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