Cooperative antiproliferative and differentiation-enhancing activity of medicinal plant extracts in acute myeloid leukemia cells Academic Article uri icon


  • Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is an aggressive hematopoietic malignancy with poor prognosis and limited treatment options. Sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) berries, dog rose (Rosa canina) rosehips, and garden sage (Salvia officinalis) and oregano (Origanum vulgare) aerial parts are widely used in traditional medicine and exhibit antitumor effects in preclinical models. However, these plants remain scarcely tested for antileukemic activity. Here, we show that their water-ethanol leaf extracts reduced the growth and viability of AML cells and, at non-cytotoxic doses, potentiated cell differentiation induced by a low concentration of 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3, the hormonal form of vitamin D, in a cell type-dependent manner. The latter effect was accompanied by upregulation of the vitamin D receptor protein components and its transcriptional activity. Furthermore, at minimally effective doses the extracts cooperated with one another to produce marked cytostatic effects associated with a partial S-phase arrest and a modest induction of apoptosis. In contrast, these combinations only slightly affected the growth and viability of proliferating normal human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. In addition, the extracts strongly inhibited microsomal lipid peroxidation and protected normal erythrocytes against hypoosmotic shock. Our results suggest that further exploration of the enhanced antileukemic effects of the combinations tested here may lead to the development of alternative therapeutic and preventive approaches against AML.

publication date

  • January 1, 2016