Screening of medicinal plants in the Judea region (Israel) for geroprotective activities - Arie Budovsky

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Plants growing in the Judea region are widely used in traditional medicine. This phytogeographic zone stands out in its climatic conditions and biodiversity. Consequently, both endemic and widely distributed Mediterranean plants growing in the area have unique chemotypes, characterized by accumulation of relatively high levels of phytosteroids. Our comprehensive analysis revealed that many of the plants growing in the Judea region may hold a geroprotective potential. With this in mind, we undertook a wide screen of dozens of candidate herbal extracts for their cell protective, wound healing, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer activities. The results obtained thus far have clearly shown that several of the extracts tested (i) protect normal human fibroblasts from genotoxic stress (prevent DNA double strand beaks, increase cell survival and reduce the number of cells undergoing cellular senescence); (ii) decrease secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines; (iii) promote wound healing, and (iv) exert more pronounced cytotoxicity towards cancer cells.

This work was supported by the Israeli Ministry of Science and EC FP7 Health Research Grant number HEALTH-F4-2008-202047 (RESOLVE).