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J Ethnopharmacol. 2005 Sep 14;100(3):323-32.

Antioxidant activity and antiproliferative action of methanolic extract of Geum quellyon Sweet roots in human tumor cell lines.

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  • 1Department of Biological Chemistry, Medical Chemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Catania, 95125 Catania, Italy.


Geum quellyon Sweet, a perennial herb of the Rosaceae family, has been used in the traditional medicine of the Mapuche Amerindians of Chile to treat tooth neuralgia, gastric inflammation, prostatitis and to regulate menstruation, and for its diuretic and aphrodisiac properties. Although many benefits have been claimed for this plant, few scientific studies are available in the literature. In this study, we investigated the antioxidant activity of a methanolic extract of Geum quellyon roots. We also examined the anticancer action of this plant on Caco-2 (colon adenocarcinoma cells), DU-145 (androgen-insensitive prostate cancer cells) and KB (oral squamous carcinoma cells) human tumor cell lines. Our data showed that Geum quellyon extract, containing tannins, exhibits interesting antioxidant properties, expressed by its capacity to scavenge 1,1-diphenyl-2-picryl-hydrazyl radical (DPPH) and superoxide anion (O(2)*-), to inhibit xanthine oxidase activity, to chelate metals, and to protect plasmid DNA from cleavage induced by hydroxyl radicals (*OH) and nitric oxide (NO). These results may explain, at least in part, its use in Mapuche traditional medicine for gastric inflammation and prostatitis. The assays on human tumor cell lines demonstrated that this natural product exhibits a inhibitory effect on all human cancer cells examined, and seem to indicate that necrosis cell death is triggered in KB cells and Caco-2, while apoptotic cell demise appears to be induced in DU-145. The effect evidenced in Caco-2 cells can be in part correlated to a modulation of redox-sensitive mechanisms.

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