Studies on Cytotoxic and Neutrophil Challenging Polypeptides and Cardiac Glycosides of Plant Origin
Sammanfattning: This thesis examines the isolation and characterisation (biological and chemical) of polypeptides from plants. A fractionation protocol was developed and applied on 100 plant materials with the aim of isolating highly purified polypeptide fractions from small amounts of plant materials. The polypeptide fractions were analysed and evaluated for peptide content and biological activities. A multitarget functional bioassay was optimised as a method for detecting substances interacting with the inflammatory process of activated neutrophil granulocytes. In this assay, the neutrophil was challenged with an inflammatory mediator, N-formyl methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine (fMLP), or with platelet activating factor (PAF), to induce exocytotic release of the enzyme elastase, which then was quantified by photometric determination of the product p-nitroanilide (pNA) formed from a chromogenic substrate for elastase. Of the tested extracts, 41% inhibited pNA formation more than 60%, and 3% stimulated formation.Phoratoxin B and four new peptides, phoratoxins C-F, were isolated from Phoradendron tomentosum. In addition, the cardiac glycoside digitoxin was isolated from Digitalis purpurea. All these substances expressed cytotoxicity and a neutrophil challenging activity.Phoratoxins C-F were similar to earlier described phoratoxins A and B, which belong to the group of thionins. All the peptides were evaluated for cytotoxicity in a human cell line panel. Phoratoxin C was the most potent towards the cell lines (mean IC50: 160 nM), and was therefore investigated further on tumour cells from patients. Correlation analysis of the log IC50 values indicated a mechanism of action different from clinically used archetypal cytotoxic drugs. Phoratoxin C also showed selective toxicity to the solid tumours when compared to the haematological cancer types. The phoratoxin C was 18 times more potent towards the solid tumour samples from breast cancer cells (87 nM) compared to the tested haematological malignancies.The structure-activity relationship concerning cytotoxicity was evaluated for digitoxin and related cardiac glycosides. Digitoxin was shown to be potent, with the average IC50 37 nM being within the therapeutic concentration used for cardiac congestion (13-45 nM). Digitoxin expressed selective toxicity towards solid tumours from patients compared to haematological malignancies.
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