Divergent Anticancer Activity of Free and Formulated Camel Milk Α-Lactalbumin

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Camel milk, Milk protein, α-Lactalbumin, Anticancer activity

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Alpha-lactalbumin (α-LA), a small milk calcium-binding globular protein, is known to possess noticeable anticancer activity, which is determined by the ability of this protein to form complexes with oleic acid (OA). To date, in addition to human and bovine α-LA, the ability to form such anti-tumor complexes with OA was described for goat and camel α-LA. Although the mechanisms of the anticancer activity of human and bovine α-LA are already well-studied, little is currently known about the anticancer action of this camel protein. The goal of this study was to fill this gap and to analyze the anticancer and pro-apoptotic activities of camel α-LA in its free form (α-cLA) and as an OA-containing complex (OA-α-cLA) using four human cancer cell lines, including Caco-2 colon cancer cells, PC-3 prostate cancer cells, HepG-2 hepatoma cells, and MCF-7 breast cancer cells as targets. The anti-tumor activities of OA-α-cLA and α-cLA were analyzed using MTT test, annexin/PI staining, cell cycle analysis, nuclear staining, and tyrosine kinase (TK) inhibition methods. We show here that the OA-α-cLA complex does not affect normal cells but has noticeable anti-cancer activity, especially against MCF-7 cells, thus boosting the anticancer activity of α-cLA and improving the selectivity of OA. The OA-α-cLA complex mediated cancer cell death via selective induction of apoptosis and cell-cycle arrest at lower IC50 than that of free α-cLA by more than two folds. However, OA induced apoptosis at higher extent than OA-α-cLA and α-cLA. OA also caused unselective apoptosis-dependent cell death in both normal and cancer cells to a similar degree. The apoptosis and cell-cycle arresting effect of OA-α-cLA may be attributed to the TK inhibition activity of OA. Therefore, OA-α-cLA serves as efficient anticancer complex with two functional components, α-cLA and OA, possessing different activities. This study declared the effectiveness of OA-α-cLA complex as a promising entity with anticancer activity, and these formulated OA-camel protein complexes constitute an auspicious approach for cancer remedy, particularly for breast cancer.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Cancer Investigation, v. 35, issue 9, p. 610-623