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Antiproliferative actions of Ziziphus jujube fruit extract is mediated through alterations in Bcl2-Bax ratio and through the activation of caspases

Radhakrishna Gopala Pillai


Severe side effects as well as the cost of chemotherapy necessitate the need for alternative therapies. Use of plant derived drugs is on the increase for the treatment of various diseases including cancer. This study was designed to explore the effects of the aqueous extract of the ripe fruits of Ziziphus jujube on MCF-7, HCT116 and HEK 293 cell lines to examine the possibility of it being developed as a therapeutic aid in cancer treatment. Cells were exposed to different doses (0-2mg/ml) of the aqueous extract for different time durations ranging from 24h to 72hr. Cell viability and the change in expression of various apoptosis related genes such as Bcl2, Bax, caspase-3 and caspase-9 were studied. Rate of proliferation of the cancer cells (MCF-7 and HCT116) decreased on exposure to the extract in a time and concentration dependent manner. Expression levels of all the genes studied, except Bcl2, showed an increase. Bcl2 expression was inversely proportional to time and concentration of the extract. Levels of activated caspases 3 and 9 were also increased. This report points to the possibility of developing the extract of Ziziphus jujube as a drug for the treatment of cancer.


Ziziphus jujube; Bcl2; Bax; apoptosis; cancer; caspase; proapoptotic genes;

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ISSN 2347–9825

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