Sutherlandia frutescens is a well-known South African herbal remedy traditionally used for stomach problems, internal cancers, diabetes, various inflammatory conditions and recently to improve the overall health in cancer and HIV/AIDS patients. The influence of crude Sutherlandia frutescens extracts (prepared with 70% ethanol) was investigated on cell numbers, morphology, and gene expression profiles in a MCF-7 human breast adenocarcinoma cell line. Time-dependent (24, 34, 48 and 72 h) and dose-dependent (0.5-2.5 mg/ml) studies were conducted utilizing spectrophotometrical analysis with crystal violet as DNA stain. A statistically significant decrease to 50% of malignant cell numbers was observed after 24 h of exposure to 1.5 mg/ml Sutherlandia frutescens extract when compared to vehicle-treated controls. Morphological characteristics of apoptosis including cytoplasmic shrinking, membrane blebbing and apoptotic bodies were observed after 24 h of exposure. A preliminary global gene expression profile was obtained by means of microarray analysis and revealed valuable information about the molecular mechanisms and signal transduction associated with 70% ethanolic Sutherlandia frutescens extracts. © 2007 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
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