2019 Volume 42 Issue 5 Pages 671-679
Nicotiana glauca is a cosmopolitan shrub, used in medicine to treat swellings, wounds, sores and cancer. However, its users lack of knowledge of the adverse effects. We seek to evaluate the effects of lipid extracts from N. glauca on myoblasts, identifying the compounds which cause undesirable effects. Myoblasts are important in muscle homeostasis, thus a high death rate of them cause myopathies. We performed an ethanolic extraction from leaves of N. glauca and the extract was successively partitioned with hexane, chloroform and ethyl acetate. The effects of extracts in C2C12 cells were analysed by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate nick-end labeling (TUNEL), Mitotracker and 4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) staining, Western blotting, real-time PCR and immunofluorescence assays. Caspase activity was studied. The fraction with the highest apoptotic effects was analysed by chromatography, NMR and GC-MS spectrometry were used to identify the apoptotic agent, after which its biological activity was evaluated. The extracts from N. glauca induced apoptosis in C2C12 cells involving caspase-3/7. We found that the extracts trigger a defence response in muscle through Akt and heat shock protein 27 (HSP27). We identified an apoptotic agent as palmitic acid. These data suggest that the use of N. glauca in hormone replacement therapy, or in other therapies affects skeletal muscle homeostasis, worsening the negative effects of the menopause. Thus, the relevance of this work lies in the fact that it is the first time that a report about the molecular mechanism responsible for the side effects of medicinal use of N. glauca, has been shown. Moreover the compound responsible for these effects has been identified.