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Cell Biochem Biophys. 2013 Jul;66(3):451-60. doi: 10.1007/s12013-012-9493-4.

Hormetic/cytotoxic effects of Nigella sativa seed alcoholic and aqueous extracts on MCF-7 breast cancer cells alone or in combination with doxorubicin.

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Biophysics and Laser Science Unit, Research Institute of Ophthalmology, Giza, Egypt.


In this study, we investigate the possible cytotoxic effects of different Nigella sativa seed extracts on human MCF-7 breast cancer cells and screening the effects of a wide range of extracts concentrations and their application as an adjuvant therapy to doxorubicin. The results obtained showed that the cytotoxic solvent dimethyl sulfoxide can be used for permeation assay in concentration range 697.5-0.341 mmol/ml without affecting the viability of MCF-7 cells. N. sativa lipid extract is cytotoxic to MCF-7 cells with LC50 of 2.72 ± 0.232 mg/ml, while its aqueous extract cytotoxicity exhibited when the applied concentration is high as ≈ 50 mg/ml. The results of this study reveal for the first time that low concentrations of aqueous extract of the seed has a hormetic rather than cytotoxic effect. It is also possible to use cell culture medium or bovine serum to dilute the oil extract for the permeation assay. In conclusion, N. sativa aqueous extract should not be used as antitumor compound by its own. The oil is a promising antitumor compound and its cytotoxicity was greatly enhanced with its nanoemulsion formulation. Antitumor activity of doxorubicin was enhanced, as a function of time, when N. sativa extracts were involved as adjunct therapeutic compounds. Adding doxorubicin to the prepared lipid nanoemulsion has a beneficial impact to their bioactivity. These doxorubicin-N. sativa lipid nanoemulsion are promising and potential therapeutic modality.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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