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Lichen used in traditional medicine have potent anticancer characteristics


Three species of lichen-forming fungi: Caloplaca pusilla, Protoparmeliopsis muralis, and Xanthoria parietina were found to have antimicrobial benefits, as well as antiproliferative qualities against human breast, prostate, and cervical cancer cells. The study, published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, tested acetone extracts from the three species against bacteria and cancer cells.

  • Many types of lichen are used for their antitumor, antimutagenic, antibiotic, and antiviral qualities, as well as their ability to inhibit both plants and enzymes.
  • The researchers prepared acetone extracts which they tested on six bacterial strains: Bacillus subtilis, Escherichia coli, Enterococcus faecalis, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, and Staphylococcus epidermidis. They also tested the extracts on three cancer cell types: MCF-7 (human breast adenocarcinoma), PC-3 (human prostate cancer), and HeLa (human cervix adenocarcinoma).
  • To determine the extracts’ antibacterial properties, they used agar disc diffusion method and broth microdilution method. They determined cell viability using three types of cell assay: MTT method, flow cytometry assay, and DAPI staining.
  • They found that P. muralis was a strong inhibitor against Gram-positive bacteria (B. subtilis, E. faecalis, S. aureus, and S. epidermidis) while X. parietina decreased the viability to HeLa and MCF-7. C. pusilla reduced the viability of all three cancer cells and induced apoptosis when the cell lines were treated using increasing concentrations.

The researchers concluded that the three species of fungi exhibited strong antimicrobial and antiproliferative qualities. They added that the three species may be a viable source of antibacterial and anticancer compounds.

Read the full text of the study at this link.

Journal Reference:

Felczykowska A, Pastuszak-Skrzypczak A, Pawlik A, Bogucka K, Herman-Antosiewicz A, Guzow-Krzemi?ska B. ANTIBACTERIAL AND ANTICANCER ACTIVITIES OF ACETONE EXTRACTS FROM IN VITRO CULTURED LICHEN-FORMING FUNGI. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2017;17(1). DOI: 10.1186/s12906-017-1819-8



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