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Effects of homeopathic treatments on the cellular metabolism of wheat: validation of microarrays data by quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR)
24 January 2018 (online)
Plant-based models appear to be an useful approach for basic research in homeopathy in order to fill gaps concerning theoretical models and scientific basis. Such models make it possible to overcome some of the inconveniences of clinical trials for instance placebo effect, ethical issues, duration and high costs; moreover they constitute a vast and cheap source of biological material, essential to perform a large number of experimental repetition.
The main objective of the research was to give novel insights on the not yet clarified mode of action of homeopathic treatments and to provide reliable information on their efficacy.
The plant-based model considered was the "wheat growth model". A total of 560 common wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) seeds were used to carry out the study; part of the seeds were stressed with As2O3 0.1% to reduce germination and amplify the effect of homeopathic treatment. The seeds were been equally subdivided into four experimental groups: control (non-stressed seeds grown in distilled water); treated control (non-stressed seeds grown in As2O3 45x); poisoned (stressed seeds grown in distilled water); poisoned-treated (stressed seeds grown in As2O3 45x). After 7 days of incubation seedlings were collected for molecular analysis. Total RNA isolated from seedling samples were used for microarray analysis in order to study changes in gene expression over different treatments. Subsequently, statistical and bioinformatic analyses were performed to classify genes in "induced" or "repressed" and to assign them a supposed function. Comparative analyses highlighted the particular effect of As2O3 45x in stressed seeds. Real time PCR was performed to validate gene expression profiles: data obtained with microarray and real time PCR were found to be well correlated.
This research provided novel insights on the mode of action of homeopathic potencies and constitute an important breakthrough in the study of the molecular responses triggered in wheat by ultra-high diluted treatments.