Comparative Investigation of Frankincense Nutraceuticals: Correlation of Boswellic and Lupeolic Acid Contents with Cytokine Release Inhibition and Toxicity against Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Cells.
Nutrients. 2019 Oct 2 ;11(10). Epub 2019 Oct 2. PMID: 31581678
For centuries, frankincense extracts have been commonly used in traditional medicine, and more recently, in complementary medicine. Therefore, frankincense constituents such as boswellic and lupeolic acids are of considerable therapeutic interest. Sixteen frankincense nutraceuticals were characterized by high-performance liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS/MS), revealing major differences in boswellic and lupeolic acid compositions and total contents, which varied from 0.4% to 35.7%. Frankincense nutraceuticals significantly inhibited the release of proinflammatory cytokines, such as TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-8, by LPS-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and whole blood. Moreover, boswellic and lupeolic acid contents correlated with TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, and IL-10 inhibition. The nutraceuticals also exhibited toxicity against the human triple-negative breast cancercell lines MDA-MB-231, MDA-MB-453, and CAL-51 in vitro. Nutraceuticals with total contents of boswellic and lupeolic acids>30% were the most active ones against MDA-MB-231 with a half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC)≤ 7.0 µg/mL. Moreover, a frankincense nutraceutical inhibited tumor growth and induced apoptosis in vivo in breast cancer xenografts grown on the chick chorioallantoic membrane (CAM). Among eight different boswellic and lupeolic acids tested, β-ABA exhibited the highest cytotoxicity against MDA-MB-231 with an IC= 5.9µM, inhibited growth of cancer xenografts in vivo, and released proinflammatory cytokinesIts content in nutraceuticals correlated strongly with TNF-, IL-6, and IL-8 release inhibition.