Posted on Jun 13, 2019, 4 p.m.
Vitex rotundifolia/beach vitex/Man Jing Zi, a plant used in traditional Chinese medicine has been studied for its medicinal properties. In traditional medicine it is used to treat a variety of ailments ranging from eye problems to menstrual disorders.
The medicinal plant is well known today for its anticancer properties as several studies have shown it to be a potent antiproliferative agent against several forms of cancer cells including lung, colorectal, and breast cancers.
Andong National University researchers have conducted a study investigating the mechanisms behind the plant’s biological activity against colorectal cancer cells, in particularly the inhibitory effect on down regulation of cyclin D1 and CDK4 which are proteins associated with cancer cell proliferation.
In TCM leaves and fruit of the plant are used to treat headaches, migraines, eye pain, inflammation, gastrointestinal infections, and chronic bronchitis where it is believed to act on the liver, bladder, and stomach channels to disperse wind and clear heat. Man Jing Zi is also used in combination with other herbs and spices to make herbal remedies to help treat maladies which involve pain, swelling, and spasms.
Man Jing Zi is also used in TCM to help treat menstrual and menopausal disorders, it is said to increase production of luteinizing hormones that control ovarian function in females as well as testes function in males. Man Jing Zi inhibits release of follicle stimulation hormones which shifts the ratio of estrogens to gestagens in the favor of gestagens and causes a luteum hormone effect. In addition the plant helps to regulate menstruation, stimulates progesterone synthesis, normalize milk production, and regulate estrogen to alleviate symptoms of PMS and menopause.
Studies conducted on the plant and its fruit have discovered many of its chemical components; fruit and leaves contain a variety of phytochemicals such as diterpenes, alkaloids, glucosides, aryl naphthalene norlignans, flavones, sesquiterpenoids, and monoterpenes. Other components noted to have biological activity according to in vitro studies include casticin, polymethoxyflavonoids, ferruginol, vitexicarpin, and (+)-polyalthic acid.
As published in The American Journal of Chinese Medicine in this study the inhibitory effect of the plant was investigated on the down regulation of cyclin D1 and CDK4 proteins associated with cancer cell proliferation. Molecular mechanisms by which Victis Fructus inhibits proliferation of cancer cells has not been elucidated in detail, however, based on their findings the researchers reported:
- VF suppressed the proliferation of human colorectal cancer cell lines HCT116 and SW480.
- VF decreased cyclin D1 and CDK4 in both protein and mRNA levels.
- VF decreased the protein levels of cyclin D1 and CDK4 via proteasomal degradation.
- In cyclin D1 and CDK4 degradation, Thr286 phosphorylation of cyclin D1 plays a pivotal role in VF-mediated cyclin D1 degradation.
- Experiments with several kinase inhibitors suggest that VF-mediated degradation of cyclin D1 may be dependent on GSK3B.
- VF-mediated degradation of CDK4 is dependent on ERK1/2, p38, and GSK3B, which are all mediators of cell apoptosis.
- In the transcriptional regulation of cyclin D1 and CDK4, VF inhibited Wnt activation associated with cyclin D1 transcriptional regulation through TCF4 down-regulation.
- VF treatment down-regulated c-myc expression-associated CDK4 transcriptional regulation.
According to the researchers results demonstrate the anticancer activity of VF/Man Jing Zi is due to the ability to suppress expression of proteins required for cell proliferation, and they concluded the plant has potential to be a candidate for development of chemoprevention or therapeutic agents for human colorectal cancer.
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