Background: Activation of IKK/NF-kB signaling pathway plays a critical role in inflammation-driven tumor progression. Several natural compounds able to inhibit the IKK/NF-kB activation pathway have been shown to either prevent cancer or inhibit cell growth. Extensive studies have been carried out on the Nigella sativa (N. sativa) by many researchers, and its pharmacological activities including anticancer, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory functions have been explored. This study investigated the effect of N. sativa extract on the mRNA level of NFk (p50, RelB) and IKK (IKKA, IKKB) to determine one of the anti-inflammatory mechanisms of N. sativa in breast cancer cells.
Methods: In this experimental study, MCF7 cell line was treated with different concentrations of hydroalcoholic extracts of N. sativa (0, 200, 400,600,800 μg/mL) for 24, 48 and 72 h. Effects of the extract on cell viability and NFk (p50, RelB ) and IKK (IKKA, IKKB) gene expression were analyzed by MTT assay and real time PCR, respectively.
Results: mRNA expression levels of NFk (p50, RelB) and IKK (IKKA, IKKB) in the treatment group were lower than the untreated (control) group. Fold difference (p50, RelB) of gene expressions in treatment groups were statistically significant (P =0.001 and P =0.003) and the fold difference of IKK (IKKA, IKKB) in the treatment groups was lower than that of the untreated groups (P=0.01 and P=0.001).
Conclusion: One possible anti-inflammatory mechanism of N. sativa is associated with the reduction in mRNA levels of NFk (p50, RelB) and IKK (IKKA, IKKB) in breast cancer.