Amaranthus (Amaranthaceae) has previously been reported to possess different bioactive phytochemicals including phenols, tannins and flavonoids. The current study was designed to evaluate the antioxidant, anti-proliferative and antimicrobial activity of stem and seed extracts of Amaranthus lividus (AL) and Amaranthus hybridus (AH), respectively.
Antioxidant activity of methanol extract was assessed by DPPH radical scavenging assay. Determination of lectin activity of Amaranthus extract was carried out using hemagglutination assay on mouse blood. A total of thirty six Swiss albino mice containing Ehrlich’s ascites carcinoma (EAC) cells were treated with AL and AH extract at 25, 50 and 100 μg/ml/day/mouse for six days. Growth inhibitory activity was determined by haemocytometer counting of EAC cells using trypan blue dye and DAPI (4΄,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole) staining was used to assess apoptotic cells. Gene amplification study was conducted to observe the expression pattern of p53, Bax, Bcl-2 and caspase-3 mRNA using PCR (polymer chain reaction) technique. In vitro susceptibility of five pathogenic bacteria including Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Bacillus subtilis, Salmonella typhi and Staphylococcus aureus was detected using disk diffusion assay.
The radical scavenging assay indicated that AH and AL possesses potent antioxidant potential, exhibiting IC50 value of 28 ± 1.5 and 93 ± 3.23 μg/ml, respectively. Hemagglutination assay revealed that AH and AL agglutinated mice blood at 1.565 and 3.125 μg/wall, respectively. Administration of AH and AL extract led to 45 and 43 % growth inhibition of EAC cells, respectively at 100 μg/ml with marked features of apoptosis including cell shrinkage, condensation of cytoplasm and aggregation of apoptotic bodies etc. Up-regulation of p53, Bax and caspase-3 and down-regulation of Bcl-2 mRNA in Amaranthus treated mice indicated mitochondria mediated apoptosis of EAC cells in comparison with control. None of the bacterial species showed susceptibility to the extract of both the Amaranthus species.
Our current findings suggest that both of the Amaranthus species have strong antioxidant, lectin and anti-proliferative activity on EAC cells. The current anticancer potential was observed due mainly to the mitochondria mediated apoptosis of EAC cells.