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Grape-seed extract kills laboratory leukemia cells, proving value of natural compounds
Date:12/30/2008

eating vegetables and fruits helps prevent cancer development, Shi and his colleagues have been studying chemicals known as proanthocyanidins in fruits that contribute to this effect. Shi has found that apple peel extract contains these flavonoids, which have antioxidant activity, and which cause apoptosis in several cancer cell lines but not in normal cells. Based on those studies, and findings from other researchers that grape seed extract reduces breast tumors in rats and skin tumors in mice, they looked at the effect of the compound in leukemia cells.

Using a commercially available grape seed extract, Shi exposed leukemia cells to the extract in different doses and found the marked effect in causing apoptosis in these cells at one of the higher doses.

They also discovered that the extract does not affect normal cells, although they don't know why.

The researchers then used pharmacologic and genetic approaches to determine how the extract induced apoptosis. They found that the extract strongly activated the JNK pathway, which then led to up-regulation of Cip/p21, which controls the cell cycle.

They checked this finding by using an agent that inhibited JNK, and found that the extract was ineffective. Using a genetic approach silencing the JNK gene also disarmed grape seed extract's lethal attack in leukemia cells.

"This is a natural compound that appears to have relatively important properties," Shi said.


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Contact: Jeremy Moore
Jeremy.moore@aacr.org
267-646-0557
American Association for Cancer Research
Source:Eurekalert

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