Research Article

O-naphthoquinone isolated from Capraria biflora L. induces selective cytotoxicity in tumor cell lines

Abstract

Biflorin is an o-naphthoquinone isolated from the roots of the plant Capraria biflora L. (Scrophulariaceae). In this study, the cytotoxic effects of biflorin were verified, and late apoptosis was detected in various cancer cell lines by in situ analysis. The cytotoxicity was further evaluated exclusively for 48 h of treatment in different tumor and non-tumor cell lines (Hep-2, HeLa, HT-29, A-375, and A-549, and HEK-293, respectively). The results indicated that biflorin induced selective cytotoxicity in tumor cells. HeLa cells were more susceptible to biflorin, followed by HT-29, A-549, A-375, and Hep-2 at all concentrations (range 5-50 μg/mL), and the highest half-maximal inhibitory concentration IC50 (56.01 ± 1.17 μg/mL) was observed in HEK-293 cells. Late apoptotic/necrotic events, observed by in situ immunostaining with Annexin V, varied with each cell line; an increase in late apoptotic events was observed corresponding to the increase in biflorin dosage. Hep-2 cells showed a greater percentage of late apoptotic events among the tumor cell lines when treated with higher concentrations of biflorin (69.63 ± 2.28%). The non-tumor HEK-293 line showed greater resistance to late apoptotic events, as well as a lower level of cytotoxicity (77.69 ± 6.68%) than the tested tumor lines. The data presented indicate that biflorin showed an important, possibly selective, cytotoxicity against tumor cell lines, thereby revealing a promising novel substance with potential anticancer activity for tumor therapy.

Biflorin is an o-naphthoquinone isolated from the roots of the plant Capraria biflora L. (Scrophulariaceae). In this study, the cytotoxic effects of biflorin were verified, and late apoptosis was detected in various cancer cell lines by in situ analysis. The cytotoxicity was further evaluated exclusively for 48 h of treatment in different tumor and non-tumor cell lines (Hep-2, HeLa, HT-29, A-375, and A-549, and HEK-293, respectively). The results indicated that biflorin induced selective cytotoxicity in tumor cells. HeLa cells were more susceptible to biflorin, followed by HT-29, A-549, A-375, and Hep-2 at all concentrations (range 5-50 μg/mL), and the highest half-maximal inhibitory concentration IC50 (56.01 ± 1.17 μg/mL) was observed in HEK-293 cells. Late apoptotic/necrotic events, observed by in situ immunostaining with Annexin V, varied with each cell line; an increase in late apoptotic events was observed corresponding to the increase in biflorin dosage. Hep-2 cells showed a greater percentage of late apoptotic events among the tumor cell lines when treated with higher concentrations of biflorin (69.63 ± 2.28%). The non-tumor HEK-293 line showed greater resistance to late apoptotic events, as well as a lower level of cytotoxicity (77.69 ± 6.68%) than the tested tumor lines. The data presented indicate that biflorin showed an important, possibly selective, cytotoxicity against tumor cell lines, thereby revealing a promising novel substance with potential anticancer activity for tumor therapy.