Toxicity and apoptotic effects of selected compounds and extracts from edible plants
Traditional medicinal and dietary plants consist of numerous bioactive compounds, which affect cell signaling and gene expression. Our study aims to clarify the mechanisms related to apoptosis and inflammation – the mechanisms behind e.g. cancer – of some selected compounds and extracts in cancerous and non-cancerous cells, focusing especially on plant extracts for their possible combinatorial effects of several compounds. Toxicity of plant-derived samples was determined by measuring the metabolic activity and membrane integrity of cells. Cell signaling processes were determined by detecting proteins p53, Bcl-2 and p65 by Western blotting and defining the caspase 3 activity in cells. Pilot study for differences in gene expression between treated and untreated cells was carried out by the cDNA-RDA method. We observed that quercetin and piceatannol – well-known compounds of plant origin – and juniper berry extract affected the caspase 3 activity and/or the amount and localization of p53 in cancerous cells. Further investigations are needed to define the potential of synergistic effects of multiple plant-derived compounds for their use as functional food products and/or drugs.