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Journal of Integrative Medicine ; (12): 463-472, 2022.
Article in English | WPRIM | ID: wpr-939901


OBJECTIVE@#"Multi-targeting" drugs can prove fruitful to combat drug-resistance of multifactorial disease-cervical cancer. This study envisioned to reveal if Thuja homeopathic mother tincture (MT) and its bioactive component could combat human papillomavirus (HPV)-16-infected SiHa cervical cancer cells since it is globally acclaimed for HPV-mediated warts.@*METHODS@#Thuja MT was studied for its antiproliferative and antimigratory properties in SiHa cells followed by microscopic determination of reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation by 2',7'-dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate (DCFDA) staining and loss in mitochondrial membrane potential (MtMP) by rhodamine 123 (Rh123) staining. Apoptosis and autophagy inductions were studied by acridine orange/ethidium bromide (AO/EB) staining and immunoblot analyses of marker proteins. The bioactive component of Thuja MT detected by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry was studied for antiproliferative and antimigratory properties along with in silico prediction of its cellular targets by molecular docking and oral drug forming competency.@*RESULTS@#Thuja MT showed significant antiproliferative and antimigratory potential in SiHa cells at a 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) of 17.3 µL/mL. An increase in DCFDA fluorescence and loss in Rh123 fluorescence prove that Thuja MT acted through the burst of ROS and loss in MtMP respectively. AO/EB-stained cells under the microscope and immunoblot analyses supported Thuja-induced cellular demise via dual pathways-apoptosis and autophagy. Immunoblots showed cleavage of caspase-3 and poly(adenosine diphosphate-ribose) polymerase-1 (PARP-1) along with upregulation of Beclin-1, microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3B (LC3B)-II, and p62 proteins. Hence, the apoptotic cascade followed a caspase-3-dependent pathway supported by PARP-1 cleavage, while autophagic death was Beclin-1-dependent and mediated by accumulation of LC3BII and p62 proteins. Thujone, detected as the bioactive principle of Thuja MT, showed greater anti-proliferative and anti-migratory potential at an IC50 of 77 µg/mL, along with excellent oral drug competency with the ability for gastrointestinal absorption and blood-brain-barrier permeation with nil toxicity. Molecular docking depicted thujone with the strongest affinity for mammalian target of rapamycin, phosphoinositide 3-kinase, and protein kinase B followed by B-cell lymphoma 2, murine double minute 2 and adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase, which might act as upstream triggers of apoptotic-autophagic crosstalk.@*CONCLUSION@#Robust "multi-targeting" anticancer potential of Thuja drug and thujone for HPV-infected cervical cancer ascertained its therapeutic efficacy for HPV infections.

Animals , Apoptosis , Autophagy , Beclin-1/pharmacology , Bicyclic Monoterpenes , Caspase 3 , Cell Line, Tumor , Female , Humans , Mammals/metabolism , Mice , Molecular Docking Simulation , Papillomavirus Infections/drug therapy , Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases , Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerase Inhibitors/therapeutic use , Reactive Oxygen Species/metabolism , Thuja/metabolism , Uterine Cervical Neoplasms/pathology