Long kui (Solanum nigrum Linne) has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries because of its diuretic and antipyretic effects. The present study was done at the College of Environmental and Chemical Engineering at the Yanshan University in Hebei, China.
A centuries-old traditional Chinese medicine used commonly as a diuretic and fever fighting drug has been newly discovered as being able to inhibit tumour growth in mice with cervical cancer.
Moreover, the expression of a gene Bcl-2 (B-cell lymphoma 2), which is believed to play a role in resisting conventional cancer treatment, dropped significantly. Mutated gene of p53, which originally is a tumour suppressor but its mutated form is found in most tumour types, also decreased.
The study examined the effect of the crude polysaccharides isolated from long kui on tumour growth.
Analysis of the tumour inhibition mechanism indicated that the number of apoptotic tumour cells (cells died) increased significantly, i.e. more cancerous cells were killed.
The effect of long kui polysaccarides on a group of tumour-bearing mice with cervical cancer was observed after oral administration of long kui polysaccahrides for 12 days.
On the other side of the token, the expression of cell-death promoting protein Bax increased.
What is more promising is that the long kui polysaccarides treatment can decrease the level of TNF-alpha, or tumour necrosis factor, in blood serum. These results indicated that the tumour growth inhibition of long kui polysaccarides might correlate with the reduction of TNF-alpha level of blood serum, which resulted in a massive necrosis (accidental death of cells) in tumour tissues and the up-regulation of Bax and down-regulation of Bcl-2 and mutant p53 gene expression, which triggered apoptosis in tumour cells.
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