Introduction: Chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) is a myeloid neoplasm defined by the Bcr/Abl oncoprotein that is considered essential for leukaemogenesis and accumulation of neoplastic cells. Evidence exists showing that extracts of antichoke Cynara cardunculus L. (CCE) are able to inhibit cancer cell growth in vitro (1). In the present study we have investigated the antiproliferative effect of methanolic extract of CEE on K562 Bcr-Abl positive leukemia cell line. In addition we evaluated whether the extract of CEE also affects the mRNA levels of Bcr-Abl and p210 expression in this cell line.

Materials and Methods:Preparation of methanolic extract of CEE. The aerial parts of CEE were air dried until dryness at room temperature, cut into small pieces and then extracted with methanol through maceration (48 h for 3 times). The resultant total extracts were dried under reduced pressure and their weight was determined.

Cell culture. The K562 cells were grown in RPMI 1640 with L-glutamine supplemented with 10% (v/v) heat-inactivated FBS, 1% penicillin/streptomycin in humidified atmosphere of 5% CO2 at 37°C. In all experiments growing cells at optimal concentration were placed in 24 or 96 well plate and then treated with vehicle or 5–100–200 μg/ml methanolic extract of CEE. 48h after the treatment cultures were tested for proliferative activity, mRNA level of Bcr-Abl by RT-PCR and p210 protein expression by western blotting analysis.

Proliferative activity. Proliferative activity was determined using the MTT technique according to the method described by Tubaro et al. (1996). The assay was performed in triplicate and absorbance values at 550 nm were measured using a microplate reader.

RT-PCR Analysis. The total cellular mRNA was isolated from treated and control cells using an silica coloumns. Using equal amounts of the RNA from each sample, the cDNA was synthesized by Superscript VILO™ cDNA kit. PCR was performed using Platinum® Taq DNA polymerase and specific primers for t(9;22) p210 transcripts (b3a2): GAAGTGTTTCAGAAGCTTTCC (sense) and GTTTGGGCT-TCACACCATTCC (antisense). 35 amplification cycles were performed at 94°C for 30s, 55°C for 30s and 72°C for 1min. Gel electrophoresis and ethidium bromide staining was used to visualize the PCR products.

Western Blot Analysis. Cell pellets from control and treated cultures were lysed using lysis buffer with protease and phosphatase inhibitors. The proteins were then quantified and equal amounts (30 ug) were separated by SDS-PAGE and electro-blotted to nitrocellulose. After blocking procedure the blots were incubated with specific primary antibody against p210 protein and then challenged with specific horseradish peroxidase-conjugated secondary antibody. The reactive protein was visualized using an enhanced chemiluminescence detection system.

Results: The results have shown that treatment of K562 cell line with methanolic extract of CEE reduced cell viability in a dose-dependent fashion (IC50=41.7 μg/ml) as demonstrated by MTT assay. PCR and Western blot analysis revealed that the cell growth inhibition was associated to a dramatic decrease of mRNA levels of Bcr-Abl and to a significant reduction of p210 protein expression suggesting that the antiproliferative effect of methanolic extract of CEE likely due to the inhibition at transcriptional level of Bcr-Abl oncoprotein. Further studies are needed to better elucidate this mechanisms and to identify the compound of crude extract which is responsible of cancer growth suppression.

Disclosures: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.


Nadova S. Miadova E., Mucaji P., Grancai D., Cipak L. (
Phytother Res.
Tubaro A., Florio C., Luxich E., Vertua R., Della Loggia R., YasumotoT. (

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