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A comparative assessment of antiproliferative properties of resveratrol and ethanol leaf extract of Anogeissus leiocarpus (DC) Guill and Perr against HepG2 hepatocarcinoma cells



Epidemiological and experimental evidences have shown cancer as a leading cause of death worldwide. Although the folklore use of plants as a reliable source of health-restoring principles is well-documented, the search for more of such plants that are active against diseases, such as cancer, continues. We report here a laboratory-based evidence of the relevance of an ethanol leaf extract of Anogeissus leiocarpus (A2L) in comparison with resveratrol, a natural polyphenol, in cancer therapy.


The quantitative assessment of flavonoid and phenolic contents involved quercetin and gallic acid as standards, respectively were determined using spectrophotometry. Cytotoxicity was determined fluorometrically using propidium-iodide-staining method. Antioxidant status, adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels, caspase activities and mitochondrial integrity were assessed using fluorometry/luminometry.


The antioxidant assay demonstrated that A2L possesses a strong antioxidant capacity as compared with the reference compounds, ascorbic acid and butylated hydroxytoluene. This is further buttressed by the significantly high level of phenolics obtained in the quantitative assessment of the extract. A 72-h post-treatment examination indicated that both A2L and resveratrol modulate the proliferation of HepG2 liver carcinoma cells in a time- and concentration-dependent manner. Determination of the total nuclei area, propidium-iodide negative and positive nuclei areas all further buttress the modulation of cell proliferation by A2L and resveratrol with the indication that the observed cell death is due to apoptosis and necrosis at lower and higher concentrations of treatments respectively. At lower concentrations (0.39-3.13 μg/mL), resveratrol possesses higher tendencies to activate caspases 3 and 7. Bioenergetically, both resveratrol and A2L do not adversely affect the cells at lower concentrations (0.39-6.25 μg/mL for resveratrol and 12.5-100.0 μg/mL for A2L) except at higher concentrations (12.5-25.0 μg/mL for resveratrol and 200-800 μg/mL for A2L) which are more pronounced in A2L-treated cells. Furthermore, the antioxidant status of HepG2 cells is not perturbed by resveratrol as compared with A2L. Assessment of 24-h post-treatment mitochondrial function shows that resveratrol is not mitotoxic as compared with A2L which exhibits mitotoxicity at its highest concentration.


Taken together, findings from this study showed that A2L possesses strong antiproliferative activity and its prospect in the management of hepatocellular carcinoma deserves further investigation.

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