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Protective Effect of Hemidesmus indicus on the Mitochondrial Function in NDEA Induced Hepatocellular Carcinoma
A variety of diseases have been associated with excessive reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are produced mostly in the mitochondria as by-products of normal cell respiration. The interrelationship between ROS and mitochondria suggests shared pathogenic mechanisms in mitochondrial and ROS related diseases. Defects in oxidative phosphorylation can increase ROS production, whereas ROS-mediated damage to biomolecules can have direct effects on the components of the electron transport chain (ETC). N-nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA) is a major environmental carcinogen suggested to increase the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) resulting in oxidative stress and cellular injury. Since liver is the main site of NDEA metabolism, the production of ROS in the liver may be responsible for its carcinogenic effects. Phytotherapy is one of the oldest methods of treating ailments. Natural products have been widely used in traditional medicines and are valuable sources for a new drug discovery. Currently over 60% of anticancer agents that are used are derived from natural sources including medicinal plants. Hemidesmus indicus (Family: Asclepiadaceae) known as Anantamul, is a slender twining shrub occurring over greater part of India. Roots are woody and aromatic. In Indian Ayurveda, the root extract has been used in beverages, as a blood purifier and to cure various liver disorders, blood cancer etc. Our earlier work showed that there is a loss of mitochondrial function in NDEA induced Hepatocellular Carcinoma in rats. Administration of Hemidesmus indicus extract along with NDEA significantly reverted back to the normal functioning of the mitochondria and increased the life span of the tumour induced rats (rats lived only 10 days after completion of the NDEA administration for 12 weeks without plant extract and 270 days with plant extract).