Hesperidin is a flavanone present in citrus fruits, such as oranges and lemons. It exerts non-toxic activities in normal cells; however, it has been reported to suppress cell proliferation in several cancer types. Moreover, it was shown that dietary hesperidin acts as an anti-carcinogenic agent for some tumors. In the present study, we investigated the effect of hesperidin on breast cancer cell line MCF7 and also its effects on the expression of apoptosis-related genes in this cell line.
MCF7 cells were divided into 4 groups, including 3 study groups and 1 control group. Each study group was treated with 50, 75, or 100 μg/mL hesperidin, while the control group was left untreated. The samples underwent real-time PCR using the primers specific for BCL-2 and BAX, as the study genes, while GAPDH was used as the control.
According to our findings, hesperidin caused a significant decrease in BCL-2 mRNA levels at all the doses used in the study groups compared to the control group (p < 0.002). The observed decrease was dose-dependent. Also, hesperidin induced a significant overexpression of BAX when used in doses of 75 and 100 µg/mL in comparison to the control group.
The present study proved the significant apoptosis-inducing effect of hesperidin on the breast cancer cell line MCF7.