Biochemical studies to assess the effects of radiation and possible amelioration in cells have dominated radiation studies since the introduction of radiobiology. However, cells have inherent mechanical properties which can also be examined to determine their pathophysiological state. This study investigated the biomechanical changes in brain cells exposed to gamma radiation source with or without the pre-incubation with Curcuma longa L. (C. longa) extract. Biological assays and mechanical indentation were used with a view to determining the effects of Curcuma longa L. extract on the brain cells.
U87-MG and b.END5 brain cell lines were cultured in appropriate physiological growth media. The cells were either pre-incubated with the extract before irradiation or exposed to radiation without the presence of the extract. Exposure to radiation was carried out 24 hours after incubation with C. longa extract. After another 24 hours the viability of the cells, amount of reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated and stiffness of the cells were examined using 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT), 2ʹ,7ʹ-Dichlorofluorescin Diacetate (DCFDA) and an atomic force microscope respectively.
Results from the study indicate that the cells pre-incubated with the C. longa extract have higher viability than cells exposed to radiation without the presence of the extract. Also there was reduction in the amount of ROS measured in cells incubated with the extract before exposure to gamma radiation. The indentation experiment shows an increase in the Young’s modulus of the cells incubated with the extract.
In conclusion, the extract can be reliably used at a lower concentration in order to balance between proliferation of normal bEND5 cells and inhibition of the malignant U87 cells. This was also supported by the ability of the extract to increase the stiffness of both cells used in this study. This implicates that the cells are expected to be more rigid and have less tendency to migrate to neighboring normal cells. This will help reduce the chances of metastasis of the malignant cells.