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San Vito sullo Ionio, Italy

Vergara D.,University of Salento | Vergara D.,Laboratory of Clinical Proteomics | Simeone P.,University of Chieti Pescara | Bettini S.,University of Salento | And 7 more authors.
Food and Function | Year: 2014

Dietary phytochemicals found in vegetables and fruits consist of a wide variety of biologically active compounds with anti-carcinogenic activity. The aim of this study was to evaluate the antigrowth activity of carnosol, a dietary diterpene, as a single agent or in combination with other dietary phytochemicals or chemotherapeutic drugs against a panel of tumor cell lines. Carnosol decreased cell viability in human breast, ovarian, and intestinal tumor cell lines, and inhibited cancer cell adhesion on fibronectin and growth of cancer cells in suspension. Carnosol also inhibited EGF-induced epithelial mesenchymal transition in ovarian cancer cells. The combination treatment with other dietary phytochemicals increased the anti-proliferative activity of carnosol. The combination with curcumin resulted in a synergistic reduction of vitality in SKOV-3 and MDA-231 cells and potently inhibited viability of primary cancer cells isolated from the pleural fluid or ascites of patients with metastatic cancers. These results provide additional evidence about the anticancer role of carnosol and its potential in blocking the growth of tumor cells. © 2014 the Partner Organisations.

Vergara D.,University of Salento | Vergara D.,Laboratory of Clinical Proteomics | de Domenico S.,CNR Institute of Sciences of Food Production | Maffia M.,University of Salento | And 3 more authors.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences | Year: 2015

In this work we explored the possibility of using genetically modified Arabidopsis thaliana plants as a rapid and low-cost screening tool for evaluating human anticancer drugs action and efficacy. Here, four different inhibitors with a validated anticancer effect in humans and distinct mechanism of action were screened in the plant model for their ability to interfere with the cytoskeletal and endomembrane networks. We used plants expressing a green fluorescent protein (GFP) tagged microtubule-protein (TUA6-GFP), and three soluble GFPs differently sorted to reside in the endoplasmic reticulum (GFPKDEL) or to accumulate in the vacuole through a COPII dependent (AleuGFP) or independent (GFPChi) mechanism. Our results demonstrated that drugs tested alone or in combination differentially influenced the monitored cellular processes including cytoskeletal organization and endomembrane trafficking. In conclusion, we demonstrated that A. thaliana plants are sensitive to the action of human chemotherapeutics and can be used for preliminary screening of drugs efficacy. The cost-effective subcellular imaging in plant cell may contribute to better clarify drugs subcellular targets and their anticancer effects. © 2015 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Bettini S.,University of Salento | Vergara D.,University of Salento | Vergara D.,Laboratory of Clinical Proteomics | Bonsegna S.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience | And 9 more authors.
RSC Advances | Year: 2013

Curcumin is a natural hydrophobic polyphenol found in the powdered rhizomes of Curcuma longa. Due to its capacity to interfere with many signalling pathways, it has been shown that curcumin has potential beneficial pharmacological effects including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticarcinogenic properties. However, the use of curcumin is fairly restricted because of its poor water solubility, low bioavailability, inadequate tissue absorption and degradation at alkaline pH. In the present contribution, we first verified the anti-proliferative effects of natural curcuminoids towards two different cell lines derived from an ovarian and a breast adenocarcinoma cancer. Later, curcuminoids were successfully encapsulated into reconstituted oil bodies. Once encapsulated into the triacylglycerol cores of the reconstituted oil bodies, curcumin, the most hydrophobic and active of the three curcuminoids, was better stabilized in comparison with albumin stabilization. Oil body encapsulated curcuminoids showed the same effects on cancer cell viability as the free drug, confirming the great potential of natural oil bodies as micro/nano-capsules in drug delivery applications. © 2013 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

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