Introduction: This study aimed to evaluate the potential apoptotic effects of Zingiber officinale Roscoe (ginger) and Rosmarinus Officinalis L. (rosemary) combination extracts on the mouse colorectal cancer cell line.
Methods: After the preparation of the extracts, cytotoxicity and cell viability were measured by MTT assay, and the IC50 of each extract was calculated. Next, the combination index (CI) of the mixture of the extracts was evaluated by CompuSyn software. The apoptosis induction was evaluated by Annexin V/PI assay and caspase-3, Bcl-2, and Bax genes expression.
Results: The viability of the CT-26 cells exposed to ginger and rosemary extracts was significantly reduced in a dose-dependent manner (P<0.05) with the confirmed synergistic effect of the mixture (CI=0.89). Moreover, treatment of the cells with IC50 concentration of the extracts induced apoptosis, especially in the mixture group (P<0.001). Additionally, expression levels of Bax and caspase-3 genes increased in the mixture group compared to the control (P<0.001). Expression levels of Bcl-2 were increased in the rosemary and mixture groups compared to the control group (P<0.05).
Conclusion: The results of the present study revealed that the mixture of the extracts has synergistic cytotoxic and apoptotic effects on colorectal cancer cells. Therefore, the mixture of ginger and rosemary extracts can be used as a potential complementary therapy in the context of other therapeutic approaches for colorectal cancer.