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Introduction: The cytotoxic effects of Ferula assafoetida extract intensely depend on high-quality extraction. The solvent type is a critical parameter for efficient extraction in the maceration method. The phytochemical and cytotoxic effects of different Ferula assafoetida extracts were compared in the present study.
Methods: The Ferula assafoetida gum was extracted using different polar solvents of hydroethanol (70% v/v), dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), and water. The phytochemical properties of the extracts were evaluated for their herbal content of phenols and flavonoids. The antioxidant activity of the extracts was also compared in their radical scavenging capacity (by DPPH assay) and reducing activity (by FRAP assay). Finally, the cytotoxicity effects of the extracts were evaluated by MTT assay on MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell lines for the first time.
Results: The phytochemical properties of hydroethanolic extract of Ferula assafoetida (HEFA) were significantly (P< 0.0001) higher than that of DMSO (DEFA) and water extracts (WEFA). The reducing power, radical scavenging activity, and cytotoxic effects of HEFA were also significantly (P< 0.05) higher than those of DEFA and WEFA. The cytotoxicity of the extracts had an incubation time and dose-dependent manner. HEFA had the highest cell cytotoxicity (72 h) with IC50 values of 69.97± 9.45 µg/mL on the MCF-7 and 60.22± 2.37 µg/mL on the MDA-MB-231 cell line.
Conclusion: Hydroethanol was the best solvent for extracting phenolic compounds and flavonoids. The cytotoxic effects of HEFA were also the highest, probably due to the high ability of hydroethanol in the extraction of hydrophilic and lipophilic phenols.


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