White Poplar (Populus alba L.) Suspension Cultures as a Model System to Study Apoptosis Induced by Alfalfa Saponins

ISSN: 1875-5992 (Online)
ISSN: 1871-5206 (Print)

Volume 17, 14 Issues, 2017

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Anti-Cancer Agents in Medicinal Chemistry

Formerly: Current Medicinal Chemistry - Anti-Cancer Agents

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Michelle Prudhomme
Institut de Chimie de Clermont-Ferrand
Université Clermont Auvergne

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White Poplar (Populus alba L.) Suspension Cultures as a Model System to Study Apoptosis Induced by Alfalfa Saponins

Anti-Cancer Agents in Medicinal Chemistry, 14(10): 1324-1331.

Author(s): Alma Balestrazzi, Daniela Carbonera, Pinarosa Avato and Aldo Tava.

Affiliation: Department of Biology and Biotechnology 'L. Spallanzani', University of Pavia, via Ferrata 1, 27100- Pavia, Italy.


In animal cells, the anticancer function played by plant saponins involves a complex network of molecular processes that still deserves investigation and apoptosis seems to be the outstanding pathway. An intriguing aspect of the biological activity of saponins is related to their effects on genome integrity. As demonstrated by the studies carried out in white poplar (Populus alba L., cv Villafranca) cell suspension cultures, plant cells can as well be used as a model system to unravel the molecular mechanisms activated by plant saponins. These recent studies have evidenced that animal and plant cells share common features in their response to saponins, paving the way for novel opportunities for both basic and applied research. Indeed, there is a certain interest in replacing the animal models for pharmacological research, at least when preliminary large-scale cytotoxicity tests are performed on wide collections of natural extracts and/or purified compounds. The review provides an up-date of the molecular pathways (signal transduction, antioxidant response, DNA repair) associated with plant saponin bioactivity, with an emphasis on apoptosis induced by alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) saponins. The comparison between animal and plant cells as tools for the study of saponin bioactivity is also discussed in view of the most recent literature and innovative future applications.


Alfalfa saponins, apoptosis, DNA repair, Medicago sativa, nitric oxide, reactive oxygen species, white poplar.

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Article Details

Volume: 14
Issue Number: 10
First Page: 1324
Last Page: 1331
Page Count: 8
DOI: 10.2174/1872211308666140630123406
Price: $58

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