Although alkaloids from the family Aizoaceae have anticancer activity, species of this family have received little attention. Because these alkaloids also exhibit properties normally associated with compounds that have activity at the level of the plasma membrane, a methanol extract of Carpobrotus edulis, a common plant found along the Portuguese coast, was studied for properties normally associated with plasma membrane active compounds. The results of this study show that the extract is non-toxic at concentrations that inhibit a verapamil sensitive efflux pump of L5178 mouse T cell lymphoma cell line thereby rendering these multi-drug resistant cells susceptible to anticancer drugs. These non-toxic concentrations also prime THP-1 human monocyte-derived macrophages to kill ingested Staphylococcus aureus and to promote the release of lymphokines associated with cellular immune functions. The extract also induces the proliferation of THP-1 cells within 1 day of exposure to quantities normally associated with phytohaemagglutinin. The potential role of the compound(s) isolated from this plant in cancer biology is intriguing and is currently under investigation. It is supposed that the resistance modifier and immunomodulatory effect of this plant extract can be exploited in the experimental chemotherapy of cancer and bacterial or viral infections.
- Carpobrotus edulis
- Efﬂux pump inhibitor