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Questions About Lectins

Celandine, Lectins and Cancer

Effect of lectin from Chelidonium majus L. on normal and cancer cells in culture.

Folia Histochem Cytobiol 2001;39(2):215-6

Fik E, Wolun-Cholewa M, Kistowska M, Warchol JB, Gozdzicka-Jozefiak A.

Lectin from Chelidonium majus L. (CML) significantly stimulates the proliferation of human lymphocytes and has hemagglutination activity towards group B human erythrocytes and potent antimicrobial properties against multiresistant enterococci and staphylococci. In the present work we describe the effect of lectin from Chelidonium majus L on normal and cancercells in culture in vitro. The studies were performed on three types of cells: CHO, R2C and on normal mouse fibroblasts. Effects on the cultures were examined 24 h after addition of CML. Exposure to CML resulted in growth inhibition of CHO and R2C cells but not of fibroblasts. Moreover, evident apoptotic lesions were observed in CHO cells and less well marked apoptotic lesions in R2C cells. In contrast, only insignificant numbers of fibroblasts reacted to the applied lectin.

Celandine (Chelidonium majus) is a commonly prescribed medical herb in naturopathic medicine, used typically to stimulate bile production and for 'liver support.' It has been known since the 1980's that celandine contained alkaloids which may possess anticancer properties, but were considered too toxic to be used clinically. Incidently, these came alkaloids possess anti-HIV activity as well (1).

Now new information describes a lectin in celandine that has immune stimulatory, and anti-bacterial activity. This may open up a new interest in the plant, although its B-specific hemagglutinating lectin may limit its value to group A and O individuals.

1. D'Adamo P. Chelidonium and sanguinaria alkaloids as anti-HIV therapy. J. Naturopath Med. 1992 (1); 31-36

The Ask Dr. D'Adamo internet advice column ran from 1996 to 2009, at which time Dr. D'Adamo's teaching and programming responsibilities no longer allowed him to devote time and resources to directly answering visitor questions. However we've recently reorganized this treasure-trove of material and made it again available to his readership. He occasionally posts new entries. These are marked with a NEW tag.

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