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Lectin of Abelmoschus esculentus (okra) promotes selective antitumor effects in human breast cancer cells


The anti-tumor effects of a newly-discovered lectin, isolated from okra, Abelmoschus esculentus (AEL), were investigated in human breast cancer (MCF7) and skin fibroblast (CCD-1059 sk) cells. AEL induced significant cell growth inhibition (63 %) in MCF7 cells. The expression of pro-apoptotic caspase-3, caspase-9, and p21 genes was increased in MCF7 cells treated with AEL, compared to those treated with controls. In addition, AEL treatment increased the Bax/Bcl-2 ratio in MCF7 cells. Flow cytometry also indicated that cell death (72 %) predominantly occurred through apoptosis. Thus, AEL in its native form promotes selective antitumor effects in human breast cancer cells and may represent a potential therapeutic to combat human breast cancer.

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This work was supported by Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES), Grants no 02841/09-6 and 23.038.019120/9-3, Fundação de Amparo a Pesquisa do Rio Grande do Sul (FAPERGS), Grants no. 11/1842-5 and Conselho Nacional de Pesquisa (CNPq). The authors also wish to thank Dr. Cláudia Pinho Hartleben, MSc. Eduarda Schultze, MSc. Karine Rech Begnini and MSc. Virginia Campello Yurgel for their valuable technical assistance with the flow cytometric analysis.

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Correspondence to Luciano S. Pinto.

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Fig. S1

Evaluation of AEL by SDS-PAGE after the purification and quantification assays. Column "M": Molecular Weight Markers (GE Healthcare, Life Sciences). Column "1" Abelmoschus esculentus lectin (AEL) (JPEG 13 kb)

Supplementary material 2 (DOC 49 kb)

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Monte, L.G., Santi-Gadelha, T., Reis, L.B. et al. Lectin of Abelmoschus esculentus (okra) promotes selective antitumor effects in human breast cancer cells. Biotechnol Lett 36, 461–469 (2014).

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  • Abelmoschus esculentus
  • Apoptosis
  • Cancer inhibition
  • Human breast cancer
  • Lectin
  • Okra
  • Plants