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A Critical Review of the Therapeutic Potential of Dibenzyl Trisulphide Isolated from Petiveria alliacea L (Guinea hen weed, anamu)



The data compiled in the present review on dibenzyl trisulphide (DTS) isolated from Petiveria alliacea L (the guinea hen weed or anamu) revealed that the compound and its derivatives could be of tremendous pharmaceutical interest. The mode of action elucidated for DTS revealed that it is a mitogen activated protein extracellular regulated kinases 1 and 2 (MAPKinases erk1 and erk 2) signal transduction molecule. Dibenzyl trisulphide caused hyper-phosphorylation of growth factor induced MAPKinases (erk 1and erk 2) phosphorylation, a process critical for the improvement of long term memory, and is implicated in neuronal growth. Dibenzyl trisulphide and its derivatives exhibited potent anti-proliferation/cytotoxic activity on a wide range of cancer cell lines. The cytotoxic activity of DTS was increased by 70 – 1000 fold when bound to albumin in vitro. Dibenzyl trisulphide seems to have a cytokine switching mechanism in which it down regulates cytokines from the Type 1 helper cells (Th-1 cell) pathway which contained several pro-inflammatory cytokines and up-regulates those on the Type 2 helper cells (Th-2) pathway. The trisulphide up-regulates some reticuloendothelial system parameters eg granulocyte counts and increased thymic and Peyer’s patches masses via cell proliferation processes which are known to be regulated via the MAPKinase signal transduction pathway. When the zygotes of Asternia pectinifera (Starfish) were exposed to DTS at concentration of 10 mM, a dose lethal to all cancer cells tested, it was observed that the sensitive process of protein biosynthesis was not affected. Similarly, the proliferation of the HOFA human fibroblast, a noncancerous cell line, was not severely affected by DTS at 8.9 μM over seven days, a concentration also lethal to most cancer cell lines tested. The implications of the findings will be highlighted in the present review.

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e-Published: 01 Jul, 2013
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