Herbal medicines are increasingly being utilized to treat a wide variety of disease processes. Evening primrose extract (EPE) is extracted from Oenothera biennis L., one species of evening primroses, which has been shown to have several pharmacological effects. However, anti-tumor activity in the extract of defatted seeds of O. biennis L. has not been defined thus far. In this study, we identified the major biochemical changes upon EPE treatment and investigated the functional relationship between these changes. We found that EPE-induced apoptosis in Ehrlich ascites tumor cells as evidenced by morphological changes. Furthermore, our results demonstrated rapid increase of intracellular peroxides levels, loss of mitochondrial membrane potential and the release of cytochrome c from mitochondria to cytosol. These results suggest that the rapid increase of intracellular peroxides levels after addition of EPE triggers off induction of apoptosis. © 2003 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
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