Food and chemical toxicology : an international journal published for the British Industrial Biological Research Association

Safranal, a Crocus sativus L constituent suppresses the growth of K-562 cells of chronic myelogenous leukemia. In silico and in vitro study.

PMID 25239662


Crocin, a main constituent of Crocus sativus L (saffron), has been found to inhibit the growth of K-562 human chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) cells expressing Bcr-Abl protein tyrosine kinase activity. The aim of our study is to investigate the ability of the bioactive saffron's constituents, crocin (CRC) and safranal (SFR), to inhibit the Bcr-Abl protein activity employing an in silico approach, as well as the in vitro effect of these compounds on K-562 growth and gene expression of Bcr-Abl. In silico molecular docking studies revealed that mostly SFR can be attached to Bcr-Abl protein, positioned inside the protein's binding cavity at the same place with the drug used in the treatment of CML, imatinib mesylate (IM). The predicted polar interactions and hydrophobic contacts constructing a hydrophobic cavity inside the active site, explain the observed inhibitory activity. Cytotoxicity experiments showed that SFR and CRC mediate cytotoxic response to K562 cells. In vitro studies on the expression of Bcr-Abl gene revealed that SFR and in a lesser degree IM inhibited the expression of the gene, while in contrast CRC induced an increase. The ultimate goal was to evaluate the existence of a potential antitumor activity of saffron's constituents SFR and CRC.