Abstract Background Propolis and Hypericum perforatum L. are natural products which contain many active compounds and have numerous beneficial effects, including an antitumor effect. Gliobmastoma multiforme (GBM) is a common primary brain tumor with poor prognosis and limited treatment options. In this study, the effect of propolis (EEP) combined with H. perforatum L. (HPE) on glioblastoma cell line U87MG was investigated for the first time.
Methods Anti-proliferative activity of EEP, HPE and their combination (EEP + HPE) was determined by a cytotoxicity test, DNA binding by [3H]-thymidine incorporation and cell migration assay. Anti-metastatic properties in U87MG treated with EEP, HPE and EEP + HPE were estimated on cells migration test (scratch assay) and metalloproteinases (MMP2 and MMP9) secretion (gelatin zymography).
Results Combination of HPE and EEP extracts was found to have a time- and dose-dependent inhibitory effect on the viability of U87MG cells. This effect was significantly higher (p < 0.05) when compared to these two extracts applied separately, which was confirmed by the significant reduction of DNA synthesis and significantly higher mitochondrial membrane permeabilization. A significant decreasing in migration cells and in pro-MMP9 and pro-MMP2 secretion in U87MG cells were demonstrated after exposure to combination of EEP (30 μg/ml) with HPE (6.25 μg/ml).
Conclusions In this study, the combination of ethanolic extract from propolis and ethanolic extract of fresh-cut H. perforatum L. was proved the ability to reduce invasiveness of glioma cells through the inhibition of MMP2 and MMP9 secretion and suppression of cell migration. It has a more potent anti-proliferative effect on U87MG glioma cell line compared to using propolis and H. perforatum L. separately. Further studies are required to verify whether the examined extracts can activate apoptotic pathways.