An investigation of the antifungal and antitumor activity of ajoene
Thesis DisciplineBiological Sciences
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
The garlic extract ajoene is considered to have antimicrobial and antitumor effects against a variety of cell types, and it is suggested to have the potential to be used as an antifungal or antitumor drug clinically. The underlying mechanism of its inhibitory effects is still uncertain. In this project, the effects of ajoene on the growth of fungal and oomycete cells were studied on Candida albicans, Neurospora crassa and Achlya bisexualis. Endometrial cancer is the most common gynecologic cancer. A 3D spheroid model of endometrial cancer cells were for the first time used to investigate the antitumor effects of ajoene and selected antitumor agents. Ajoene was extracted from fresh garlic by chromatographic methods and the outcome of the extractions was verified with Mass spectrometry and NMR spectroscopy. Ajoene was then tested on the yeast form or germ tubes of C. albicans, and the cell division and germ tube formation was analyzed. N. crassa and A. bisexualis were treated with ajoene on plates or on glass slides to measure the hyphae radial extension or individual hyphal extension. 3D endometrial adenocarcinoma cell (Ishikawa) spheroids were treated with ajoene, paclitaxel, targeted drugs everolimus, sorafenib, gefitinib and canertinib alone or in combinations. The growth activity, metabolic activity, cell proliferation, apoptotic activity and the cytoskeletons were analyzed after the treatments. Cell division of C.albicans was inhibited by ajoene at 5µg/ml or higher concentrations. The length of C.albicans germ tubes was significantly shorter in ajoene treated groups than the untreated ones. Radial extension and individual hyphal extension of N. crassa and A. bisexualis were both inhibited by ajoene. Ajoene did not show any antitumor effects on the 3D cell model of Ishikawa cells. No synergistic effect was detected between ajoene and paclitaxel or ajoene and everolimus. The targeted drugs Canertinib and everolimus showed an inhibitory effect on growth activity of the spheroids, but no synergy with paclitaxel. In conclusion, ajoene was able to inhibit various forms of fungal and oomycete growth, but any antitumor activity of ajoene did not show on 3D culture of endometrial cancer cells.