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Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2005 Dec;2(3-4):411-9.

Assessment of cellular responses to oxidative stress using MCF-7 breast cancer cells, black seed (N. Sativa L.) extracts and H2O2.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS 39217, USA.


Black seed (N. Sativa L) is an oriental spice of the family Ranunculaceae that has long been rationally used as a natural medicine for treatment of many acute as well as chronic conditions including cardiovascular disease and immunological disorders. It has been used in the treatment of diabetes, hypertension, and dermatological conditions. There have been very few studies on the effects of N. Sativa as a chemoprevention of chronic diseases as well as in cancer prevention and/or therapy. Oxidative stress is a condition that underlies many acute as well as chronic conditions. The combination and role of oxidative stress and antioxidants in vivo is still a matter of conjecture. Our objective for the present study was to expose MCF-7 breast cancer cells in vitro (as a chronic disease example) to aqueous and alcohol extracts and in combination with H[2]O[2] as an oxidative stressor. Measurement of cell survival under various concentrations and mixtures was conducted using standard cell culture techniques, exposure protocols in 96 well plates and Fluorospectrosphotometry. Following cellular growth to 90% confluencey, exposure to water (WE) and ethanol (AE) extracts of N. sativa and H[2]O[2] was performed. Cell survival indices were calculated from percent survival using regression analysis. Results showed that the alcohol extract and its mixtures were able to influence the survival of MCF-7 cells (indices ranged from 357.15- 809.50 mug/ml in descending potency for H[2]O[2]+AE to the mix of 3). In contrast, H[2]O[2] alone reduced effectively the survival of MCF-7 cells and the least effective combinations in descending potency were AE+H[2]O[2], WE+H[2]O[2], AE+WE, and WE+AE+H[2]O[2]. Mixtures other than AE+H[2]O[2] showed possible interactions and loss of potency. In conclusion, N. Sativa alone or in combination with oxidative stress was found to be effective (in vitro) in influencing the survival of MCF-7 breast cancer cells, unveiling promising opportunities in the field of cancer chemoprevention and/or treatment.

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