Centella Asiatica Extract's Effect on Liver Cancer Cells Using Metabolomics

Jenn Hoskins
9th June, 2024

Centella Asiatica Extract's Effect on Liver Cancer Cells Using Metabolomics

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Researchers from Guangdong Pharmaceutical University developed a new cancer treatment using nanovesicles derived from Centella asiatica (ADNVs)
  • ADNVs were produced using a simple juicing and centrifugation process, making them easier and cheaper to produce than traditional nanoparticles
  • ADNVs effectively killed liver cancer cells by inducing programmed cell death and disrupting key metabolic pathways
Recent advances in cancer therapy have highlighted the potential of nano-particles due to their impressive anticancer properties. However, challenges such as toxicity, high costs, and complex preparation processes have hindered their widespread application. A new study from Guangdong Pharmaceutical University, China, introduces a promising alternative: exosome-like Centella asiatica-derived nanovesicles (ADNVs)[1]. This research offers a simplified method of producing these nanovesicles and demonstrates their potent anticancer effects. ADNVs were produced using a straightforward juicing and high-speed centrifugation process. The researchers employed transmission electron microscopy and nanoparticle flow cytometry to confirm the morphology, size, and stability of the ADNVs. These techniques are crucial for ensuring that the nanovesicles can consistently perform their intended functions. The study evaluated the anticancer effects of ADNVs in vitro using Cell Counting Kit-8 and apoptosis assays. These assays are standard methods to measure cell viability and programmed cell death, respectively. The results showed that ADNVs significantly inhibited the growth of HepG2 cells, a type of liver cancer cell, by inducing apoptosis, or programmed cell death. This is a promising finding, as effective anticancer agents must be able to selectively kill cancer cells. Further analysis revealed that ADNVs contain a rich array of proteins and microRNAs. MicroRNAs are small molecules that can regulate gene expression and have been implicated in various diseases, including cancer. The presence of these molecules suggests that ADNVs can target multiple pathways involved in cancer progression. One of the significant findings of the study was the effective internalization of ADNVs by HepG2 cells. Once inside the cells, ADNVs increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels, causing mitochondrial damage and cell cycle arrest at the G1 phase. Elevated ROS levels can lead to oxidative stress, which damages cellular components and can trigger cell death. Mitochondrial damage further disrupts cellular energy production, contributing to the death of cancer cells. Cell cycle arrest prevents cells from dividing, thereby inhibiting tumor growth. The study also utilized cell metabolomics techniques to analyze changes in cellular metabolites post-treatment. Metabolomics is the study of small molecules (metabolites) within cells, tissues, or organisms. The results indicated that ADNVs primarily affect metabolic pathways such as amino acid metabolism and lipid biosynthesis. These pathways are crucial for cell survival and proliferation, and their disruption can lead to cancer cell death. This study ties in well with previous research on plant-derived anticancer agents. For example, podophyllotoxin (PTOX) from Podophyllum species has shown potent anticancer activity but is limited by its toxicity and side effects[2]. The development of ADNVs offers a potentially safer and more effective alternative. Moreover, the study complements findings on multidrug resistance (MDR) in cancer therapy. Autophagy, a process where cells degrade and recycle their components, plays a dual role in MDR, either protecting cancer cells or facilitating their death[3]. The ability of ADNVs to induce apoptosis and disrupt metabolic pathways may provide a new approach to overcoming MDR in cancer treatment. Additionally, the use of exosome-like nanovesicles aligns with recent advances in cancer therapy involving exosomes. For instance, modified exosomes have been used to target tumors and enhance macrophage-mediated phagocytosis of cancer cells[4]. The ADNVs in this study similarly demonstrate the potential of using naturally derived nanovesicles for targeted cancer therapy. In conclusion, the research from Guangdong Pharmaceutical University presents a novel and promising approach to cancer treatment using Centella asiatica-derived nanovesicles. These ADNVs not only exhibit potent anticancer properties but also offer a simpler and potentially safer alternative to traditional nano-particles. By disrupting key metabolic pathways and inducing apoptosis, ADNVs could become a valuable addition to the arsenal of anticancer therapies.

MedicineBiochemPlant Science


Main Study

1) Investigating the proliferative inhibition of HepG2 cells by exosome-like nanovesicles derived from Centella asiatica extract through metabolomics.

Published 7th June, 2024


Related Studies

2) Podophyllotoxin and its derivatives: Potential anticancer agents of natural origin in cancer chemotherapy.


3) Autophagy and multidrug resistance in cancer.


4) Responsive Exosome Nano-bioconjugates for Synergistic Cancer Therapy.


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