Maca (Lepidimium meyenii) and the Prostate Cancer
Keywords:Maca, Prostate, Cancer, LNCaP cells, Estrogen receptor
The extract of Lepidium meyenii (red Maca) has attracted considerable interest in ethnomedicine due to their medicinal properties such as fertility improvement, antioxidant activities, antinflammatory or vasoactive properties. Maca is a Peruvian high Andean plant that belongs to the Brassicaceaes (copper) family and is grown between 4,000 and 5,000 m at a temperature of 1.5-12ºC in preferably acidic soils. Maca is naturally present in different varieties that are characterized by the external color of their hypocolites which have different biological properties. In phytomedicine, it is clearly demonstrated that maca is capable of increasing fertility and sexual desire. Our laboratory is using the LNCaP androgen-sensitive human prostate cancer cell line to evaluate the anticancer activity of red maca aqueous extracts. Our endpoints involved effects on cell viability and changes in the expression of target genes for estradiol. We show that red Maca did not affect viability of the LNCaP, but treatment with red maca changed mRNA expression for the estrogen-target genes, estrogen receptor-alpha (ESR1) in LNCaP. The phytochemical analysis using GC/MS showed the presence of alkaloids, lipids, carbocyclic acids or saponins in the Maca extract. We conclude that red Maca aqueous extract does not have toxic effects but stimulate estrogen signaling in prostate cancer cells. These results highlight the presence of active compounds with biological properties on reproductive cancers.
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