The anticancer potential of Leea indica, a Chinese medicinal plant was investigated for the first time. The crude ethanol extract and fractions (ethyl acetate, hexane, and water) of Leea indica were evaluated their cytotoxicity on various cell lines (Ca Ski, MCF 7, MDA-MB-435, KB, HEP G2, WRL 68, and Vero) by MTT assay. Leea indica ethyl acetate fraction (LIEAF) was found showing the greatest cytotoxic effect against Ca Ski cervical cancer cells. Typical apoptotic morphological changes such as DNA fragmentation and chromatin condensation were observed in LIEAF-treated cells. Early signs of apoptosis such as externalization of phosphatidylserine and disruption of mitochondrial membrane potential indicated apoptosis induction. This was further substantiated by dose- and time-dependent accumulation of sub-G(1) cells, depletion of intracellular glutathione, and activation of caspase-3. In conclusion, these results suggested that LIEAF inhibited cervical cancer cells growth by inducing apoptosis and could be developed as potential anticancer drugs.
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