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Researchers at the Tulane University School of Medicine, in New Orleans, LA, have demonstrated that thymoquinone (TQ) a major component of black seed oil (Nigella sativa) can suppress the growth of several aggressive prostate cancer (PCa) cell lines, in vitro. Although previous studies have shown the anti-proliferative effects of TQ in different types of cancers, the molecular mechanism of this effect of TQ had not been delineated. Since TQ has a structure similar to ubiquinone, a component of the mitochondrial coenzyme-Q (co-Q) complex, the effect of TQ on free oxygen radical production was investigated. These scientists showed exposure to TQ (20 100 M) caused a rapid induction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation in both LNCaP and C4-2B cells. A precipitous decrease in the level of glutathione (GSH) an intracellular small molecule antioxidant was also found to be responsible for the potent anti-cancer effects of TQ which could be inhibited by exogenous addition of N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) a GSH analog. Free oxygen radicals are often used as second messengers for mitogenic signaling in tumor cells where a critical balance in ROS generation and its rapid inactivation by antioxidants, can dictate cell growth or apoptosis. These investigators showed significant increases in several cell death (apoptosis) inducing factors, e.g. GAD45 and AIF-1, in TQ exposed PCa cells. This study appears in the June 2010 issue of Experimental Biology and Medicine.
Dr. Mondal stated that, "Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is becoming very important as an adjunct therapy in cancer patients, both to ameliorate the side effects of chemotherapy as well as to enhance their anti-tumor effects. The low side effect profiles of natural compounds is also an important aspect in their the
|Contact: Dr. Debasis Mondal|
Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine