Affiliation: Molecular Cell Biology, Sheffield Hallam University, Faculty of Health and Well Being, Sheffield, UK.
New therapies for leukaemia are urgently needed. Carrots have been suggested as a potential treatment for leukaemia in traditional medicine and have previously been studied in other contexts as potential sources of anticancer agents. Indicating that carrots may contain bioactive compounds, which may show potential in leukaemia therapies. This study investigated the effects of five fractions from carrot juice extract (CJE) on human lymphoid leukaemia cell lines, together with five purified bioactive compounds found in Daucus carota L, including: three polyacetylenes (falcarinol, falcarindiol and falcarindiol-3-acetate) and two carotenoids (beta-carotene and lutein). Their effects on induction of apoptosis using Annexin V/PI and Caspase 3 activity assays analysed via flow cytometry and inhibition of cellular proliferation using Cell Titer Glo assay and cell cycle analysis were investigated. Treatment of all three lymphoid leukaemia cell lines with the fraction from carrot extracts which contained polyacetylenes and carotenoids was significantly more cytotoxic than the 4 other fractions. Treatments with purified polyacetylenes also induced apoptosis in a dose and time responsive manner. Moreover, falcarinol and falcarindiol-3-acetate isolated from Daucus carota L were more cytotoxic than falcarindiol. In contrast, the carotenoids showed no significant effect on either apoptosis or cell proliferation in any of the cells investigated. This suggests that polyacetylenes rather than beta-carotene or lutein are the bioactive components found in Daucus carota L and could be useful in the development of new leukemic therapies. Here, for the first time, the cytotoxic effects of polyacetylenes have been shown to be exerted via induction of apoptosis and arrest of cell cycle.