Malignacies are still a major public concern worldwide and despite the intensive search for new chemotherapeutic agents, treatment still remains a challenging issue. This work was designed to assess the cytotoxicity of six selected Cameroonian medicinal plants, including Nauclea pobeguinii and its constituents 3-acetoxy-11-oxo-urs-12-ene (1), p-coumaric acid (2), citric acid trimethyl ester (3), resveratrol (4), resveratrol β- D -glucopyranoside (5) and strictosamide (6), against 8 drug-sensitive and multidrug-resistant (MDR) cancer cell lines.
The resazurin reduction assay was used to evaluate the cytotoxicity of the crude extracts and compounds, whilst column chromatography was used to isolate the constituents of Nauclea pobeguinii. Structural characterization of isolated compounds was performed using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopic data.
Preliminary experiments on leukemia CCRF-CEM cells at 40 μg/mL showed that the leaves and bark extracts from Tragia benthamii, Canarium schweinfurthii, Myrianthus arboreus, Dischistocalyx grandifolius and Fagara macrophylla induced more than 50 % growth of this cell line contrary to the leaves and bark extracts of N. pobeguinii. IC50 values below or around 30 μg/mL were obtained with leaves and bark extracts of N. pobeguinii towards two and five, respectively, of the 8 tested cancer cell lines. The lowest IC50 value was obtained with the bark extract of N. pobeguinii against HCT116 (p53 (-/-) ) colon cancer cells (8.70 μg/mL). Compounds 4 and 6 displayed selective activity on leukemia and carcinoma cells, whilst 1-3 were not active. IC50 values below 100 μM were recorded with compound 5 on all 9 tested cancer cell lines as well as with 4 against 7 out of 8 and 6 against 2 out of 8 cell lines. Collateral sensitivity was observed in CEM/ADR5000 leukemia cells, MDA-MB-231-BCRP breast adenocarcinoma cells (0.53-fold), HCT116 (p53 (+/+) ) cells, human U87MG.ΔEGFR glioblastome multiforme cells to the methanolic bark extract of N. pobeguinii, as well as in MDA-MB-231-BCRP cells and HCT116 (p53 (+/+) ) cells and U87MG.ΔEGFR cells (0.86-fold) to compound 5.
The results of this study demonstrate the cytotoxicity of six Cameroonian medicinal plants, Canarium schweinfurthii, Dischistocalyx grandifolius, Tragia benthamii, Fagara macrophylla, Myrianthus arboreus and Nauclea pobeguinii. We also demonstrated the antiproliferative potential of Nauclea pobeguinii against drug-resistant cancer cell lines. Resveratrol and its glucoside are the major cytotoxic constituents in the bark of Nauclea pobeguinii.