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Open AccessArticle

Antitumor Potential and Phytochemical Profile of Plants from Sardinia (Italy), a Hotspot for Biodiversity in the Mediterranean Basin

1
Department of Pharmacy and Biotechnology, University of Bologna, via San Donato 19/2, 40127 Bologna, Italy
2
Department of Pharmacy and Biotechnology, University of Bologna, Via Irnerio, 42, 40126 Bologna, Italy
3
Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Cagliari, Via Sant’Ignazio da Laconi 13, 09123 Cagliari, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contribute equally to this work.
Plants 2020, 9(1), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9010026
Received: 28 November 2019 / Revised: 21 December 2019 / Accepted: 22 December 2019 / Published: 24 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioactive Compounds in Plants)
Sardinia (Italy), with its wide range of habitats and high degree of endemism, is an important area for plant-based drug discovery studies. In this work, the antitumor activity of 35 samples from Sardinian plants was evaluated on human osteosarcoma cells U2OS. The results showed that five plants were strongly antiproliferative: Arbutus unedo (AuL), Cynara cardunculus (CyaA), Centaurea calcitrapa (CcA), Smilax aspera (SaA), and Tanacetum audibertii (TaA), the latter endemic to Sardinia and Corsica. Thus, their ability to induce cell cycle arrest and apoptosis was tested. All extracts determined cell cycle block in G2/M phase. Nevertheless, the p53 expression levels were increased only by TaA. The effector caspases were activated mainly by CycA, TaA, and CcA, while AuL and SaA did not induce apoptosis. The antiproliferative effects were also tested on human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC). Except for AuL, all the extracts were able to reduce significantly cell population, suggesting a potential antiangiogenic activity. The phytochemical composition was first explored by 1H NMR profiling, followed by further purifications to confirm the structure of the most abundant metabolites, such as phenolic compounds and sesquiterpene lactones, which might play a role in the measured bioactivity. View Full-Text
Keywords: Sardinian plants; antitumor activity; cell cycle; apoptosis; NMR profiling; sesquiterpene lactones Sardinian plants; antitumor activity; cell cycle; apoptosis; NMR profiling; sesquiterpene lactones
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MDPI and ACS Style

Cappadone, C.; Mandrone, M.; Chiocchio, I.; Sanna, C.; Malucelli, E.; Bassi, V.; Picone, G.; Poli, F. Antitumor Potential and Phytochemical Profile of Plants from Sardinia (Italy), a Hotspot for Biodiversity in the Mediterranean Basin. Plants 2020, 9, 26.

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