Anticancer activity of Lovage (Levisticum officinale Koch) extracts

  • Najwa Abubaker

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Plants are considered a major source of active compounds used in remedies to treat and alleviate many diseases and disorders. The aim of this study was to prepare solvent extracts from the root of Levisticum officinale Koch (Lovage), and to assess whether they had any anticancer properties. Two human cancer cell lines were used in the anticancer screening assays (THP-1, a leukaemia cell line and MCF7, epithelial breast cancer cells) and a modified normal cell line (PNT2A, prostate epithelial cells). The n-hexane, ethyl acetate, methanol and methanol/water crude extracts of Lovage roots were prepared and tested for cytotoxicity using a resazurin metabolic indicator assay. The most cytotoxic extract was the hexane, followed by the ethyl acetate, while the methanol and the methanol/water extracts demonstrated no cytotoxicity. Further fractionation of the n-hexane and the ethyl acetate extracts and compound structure elucidation by NMR spectroscopic analysis led to selection of one fraction from the ethyl acetate (LoE18-19) and two from the n-hexane fractions (LoH26-36 and LoH49-60). Fractions LoH26-36 and LoH49-60 showed high toxicity (IC₅₀ ≤0.1 mg/ml) against THP-1 cells after 24 hours exposure (IC₅₀ value of 0.001 mg/ml) and lower activity against MCF-7 cells (IC₅₀ values of 0.466 mg/ml and 0.635 mg/ml for LoH26-36 and LoH49-60, respectively) and PNT2A cells (IC50 values of 0.145 mg/ml and 0.572 mg/ml for LoH26-36 and LoH49-60, respectively). The ethyl acetate fraction LoE18-19 demonstrated high toxicity towards the MCF-7 cells (IC₅₀ value of 0.022 mg/ml) and a moderate toxicity (IC₅₀ ≥0.1-≤0.5 mg/ml) against THP-1 cells (IC₅₀ value of 0.287 mg/ml), but no toxic effect towards PNT2A cells (IC50 value of 1.833 mg/ml). NMR spectroscopic analysis showed that the chemicals in these fractions were major compounds with impurities. The fraction from the ethyl acetate (LoE18-19) was tentatively identified as 3-methoxy-4-hydroxycinnamic acid (ferulic acid). The n-hexane fraction (LoH26-36) was tentatively identified as 1,2,3-propanetriol trilinoleate (trilinolein) mixed with a steroid ester and the hexane fraction (LoH49-60) was a mixture of 1,9-heptadecadien-4,6-diyne-3,8-diol (falcarindiol) with other minor compounds. The toxicity against cell lines observed in this study may be attributed to the anticancer and the anti-tumour properties of these compounds.
Date of Award24 Jun 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SupervisorValerie Ferro (Supervisor) & Alexander Gray (Supervisor)

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