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Antioxidant and anticancer activities of Moringa oleifera leaves

Moringa oleifera leaves extracted with methanol and dichloromethane were screened for antioxidant activity. The in vitro cancer antiproliferative and chemopreventive properties were also investigated. Radical scavenging assays with 1, 1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) and 2,2´-azino-bis 3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid (ABTS) were used to determine the antioxidant activity. The antiproliferative assay was evaluated on three types of cancer cell lines: hepatocarcinoma (HepG2),colorectal adenocarcinoma (Caco-2) and breast adenocarcinoma (MCF-7), using 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide (MTT) reduction assay. The in vitro cancer chemoprevention was performed using quinone reductase (QR) induction assay on hepatoma (Hepa-1c1c7). The chemopreventive activity of the extracts was expressed as concentration to double QR activity (CDvalue). The methanol extract showed higher free radical scavenging activity than the dichloromethane extract (IC50 = 1.60±0.03 mg/ml in DPPH assay and IC50 = 1.02±0.06 mg/ml in ABTS assay). In the antiproliferative assay, the IC50 of dichloromethane extract varied from 112 to 133 µg/ml for HepG2,Caco-2 and MCF-7 cancer cells, but became more than 250 µg/ml for the methanol extract. In the chemopreventive assay, the dichloromethane extract had capacity to induce QR activity significantly(CD value = 91.36±1.26 μg/ml), while the methanol extract had no inductive effect. This study provides evidence that M. oleifera leaves possess antioxidant activity, as well as cytotoxic and chemopreventive properties. Therefore, it might be beneficial as a medicinal plant for alternative novel anticancer drugs and nutraceutical products.