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Research Article

The combination of berberine and methotrexate enhances anti-cancer effects in HeLa cancer cell line: A morphological study

Hossein Majidzadeh, Mostafa Araj-Khodaei, Maryam Ghaffari, Amir Jafari, Dariush Shanehbandi, Mohammadali Torbati, Jafar Ezzati Nazhad Dolatabadi* ORCID logo

Abstract

Background: Co-administration of two or several either chemotherapeutic agents or conventional drugs as a combination treatment is the most effective method to increase therapeutic efficiency. Additive or synergistic influence are two mechanisms by which combination therapy causes a rise in optimal cancer therapy compared to a single treatment.
Methods: Colorimetric assay was carried out to estimate the cytotoxicity of the combined system, followed by apoptosis assay to calculate the number of apoptotic cells. Both 4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) staining and DNA ladder were complemented tests to illuminate morphological changes and DNA fracturing on HeLa cancer cells.
Statistical: Through Graph pad Prism 6.0 software. One-way ANOVA was used to determine the significance. A P-value of less than 0.05 was considered to be statistically significant.
Results: In this study revealed that the combination of MTX and BER could inhibit the growth of HeLa cancer cells noticeably. Nevertheless, single BER and MTX were not as effective as a combined system to reduce cell viability at the same dose. Regarding the apoptosis induction and change in morphology of cancer cells’ nucleus, co-treatment of BER and MTX was more effective. The result was complemented with flow cytometry, DAPI staining and DNA ladder, which showed that BER+MTX depicted more anti-cancer effects.
Conclusion: The combination therapy of HeLa cancer cells with BER and MTX showed high inhibition effect compared to other treated groups.
Keywords: HeLa cells, Methotrexate, Berberine, Herbal Medicine, Nuclear Morphology
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Submitted: 26 Jan 2021
Revision: 27 Feb 2021
Accepted: 27 Feb 2021
ePublished: 03 Mar 2021
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