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Phytother Res. 2003 Nov;17(9):1076-81.

In vitro immunopotentiating properties and tumour cell toxicity induced by Lophophora williamsii (peyote) cactus methanolic extract.

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  • 1Departamento de Microbiología e Inmunología, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, San Nicolás de los Garza, NL, México.


Lophophora williamsii, also known as peyote, is found primarily in dry regions from Central Mexico, including the Mexican States of Nayarit, San Luis Potosí, Zacatecas, Nuevo León, Chihuahua, Coahuila and Tamaulipas, to Texas particularly in regions along Rio Grande. Peyote extracts have been associated with stimulating the central nervous system and regulating blood pressure, sleep, hunger and thirst. However, there is no evidence of any effect of peyote on the immune system or against tumour cell growth. The present study was designed to evaluate the in vitro effects of peyote methanolic extracts on some parameters of mouse and human leukocyte immunocompetence and tumour cell growth. Peyote extract (0.18-18 micro g/mL) activated nitric oxide production by murine macrophages, and stimulated up to 2.4-fold proliferation of murine thymic lymphocytes. In addition, peyote extract induced up to 1.85-, 2.29- and 1.89-fold increases in mRNA signal of IL-1, IL-6 and IL-8 by human leukocytes. Also examined were the effects of peyote extracts on murine lymphoma L5178Y-R and fi broblastoma L929, and human myeloid U937 and mammary gland MCF7 tumour cell growth using 3-[4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT). Peyote extracts were toxic for MCF7, L5178Y-R, U937 and L929 (18 mg/mL peyote extract caused 1.3%, 8%, 45% and 60% viability respectively) cell lines.

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