Studies on the antitumor potentials of betulinic acid against murine ascites Dalton’s lymphoma

Anamika Bhaumik, Surya Bali Prasad


Background: Betulinic acid, a naturally occurring pentacyclic triterpene, exhibits a variety of biological activities including anticancer properties. Despite the wide importance of ethnobotanical studies on the anticancer therapeutic uses of betulinic acid, its exact role has not been fully elucidated. Therefore, the present studies were undertaken to evaluate the antitumor effect of betulinic acid in a murine malignant tumor model along with various biochemical changes in the tumor cells of the host.

Methods: Ascites Dalton’s lymphoma (DL) tumor-transplanted Swiss albino mice were treated with betulinic acid (i.p., 10 mg/kg body weight) and the pattern of host’s survival was analysed. The viability of DL cells was assessed using trypan blue exclusion test. The DL cells were also studied for the determination of apoptosis using fluorescence microscopy. Reduced glutathione and protein estimations were done in DL cells under different treatment conditions.

Results: Betulinic acid treatment caused a significant increase in life span (ILS ~150%) of the tumor-bearing hosts, which may indicate tumor regression/antitumor activity. Following betulinic acid treatment, decrease in DL cells viability and damaging changes in the cell membranes and a decrease in reduced glutathione content in DL cells were observed.

Conclusions: Present findings reveal the potent antitumor activity of betulinic acid against murine ascites Dalton’s lymphoma. The cytotoxicity of betulinic acid to build up antitumor effects may involve induction of apoptosis as well as a decrease in glutathione level in tumor cells.


Betulinic acid, Dalton’s lymphoma, Antitumor activity, Apoptosis

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