The husk fiber of Cocos nucifera L. (Palmae) is a source of anti-neoplastic activity.
Braz J Med Biol Res. 2007 Oct;40(10):1339-43. Epub 2007 Jul 31. PMID: 17713650
Laboratório de Imunologia Celular, Instituto de Biofísica Carlos Chagas Filho, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil.
In the present study, we investigated the in vitro anti-tumoral activities of fractions from aqueous extracts of the husk fiber of the typical A and common varieties of Cocos nucifera (Palmae). Cytotoxicity against leukemia cells was determined by the 3-[4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. Cells (2 x 10(4)/well) were incubated with 0, 5, 50 or 500 microg/mL high- or low-molecular weight fractions for 48 h, treated with MTT and absorbance was measured with an ELISA reader. The results showed that both varieties have almost similar antitumoral activity against the leukemia cell line K562 (60.1 +/- 8.5 and 47.5 +/- 11.9% for the typical A and common varieties, respectively). Separation of the crude extracts with Amicon membranes yielded fractions with molecular weights ranging in size from 1-3 kDa (fraction A) to 3-10 kDa (fraction B) and to more than 10 kDa (fraction C). Cells were treated with 500 microg/mL of these fractions and cytotoxicity was evaluated by MTT. Fractions ranging in molecular weight from 1-10 kDa had higher cytotoxicity. Interestingly, C. nucifera extracts were also active against Lucena 1, a multidrug-resistant leukemia cell line. Their cytotoxicity against this cell line was about 50% (51.9 +/- 3.2 and 56.3 +/- 2.9 for varieties typical A and common, respectively). Since the common C. nucifera variety is extensively cultured in Brazil and the husk fiber is its industrial by-product, the results obtained in the present study suggest that it might be a very inexpensive source of new antineoplastic and anti-multidrug resistant drugs that warrants further investigation.