In recent times there have been claims and counter claims on the use of lemon (Citrus limon) to effectively treat degenerative diseases such as cancer and Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
Results of a study published September 2017 in Journal of Advances in Molecular Biology suggest that lyophilized pure fruit juice powder of lemon has anti-proliferative effect against human breast cancer (MCF-7) cell line by suppressing its growth.
The Indian researchers from Presidency College Chennai concluded: “Our results showed that lyophilized pure fruit juice powder of Citrus limon inhibited the proliferation of human breast cancer cell line MCF-7 with an IC50 98.16 μg/ml at 48 h incubation, it was shown to promote apoptosis as seen as Deoxy ribonucleic Acid (DNA)/genetic material fragmentation using ladder assay. These results suggest that lyophilized pure fruit juice powder of Citrus limon has anti-proliferative effect against MCF-7 cell by suppressing its growth.”
Also, another study published in journal Oncotarget demonstrated how Citrus limon-derived nanovesicles inhibit cancer cell proliferation and suppress chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) xenograft growth by inducing TRAIL-mediated cell death.Exosomes are membrane nanovesicles (approximately <120 nm in size) released by most, if not all, living cells and in particular by leukocytes. Nanovesicles are used in biomedical applications such as drug delivery in the body. Xenograft is a graft of tissue taken from a donor of one species and grafted into a recipient of another species — called also heterograft; compare homograft.Tumour Necrosis Factor Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand (TRAIL) is a member of the Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) family. The interaction of TRAIL with death receptor 4 (DR4) and DR5 can trigger apoptotic cell death.
TNF is a major pro-inflammatory cytokine involved in early inflammatory events. The Italian researchers noted: “Our findings showed that we were able to isolate a homogeneous population of nanovesicles from Citrus limon-juice, with dimension, morphology and protein contents attributable to exosome-like nanoparticles. “Furthermore, we showed that these nanovesicles are stable and with a functional role in cross-kingdom communication. In particular, for the first time, we showed that they inhibit cancer cell growth without affecting normal cells. The mechanism of action of many anticancer compounds is based on their ability to induce apoptosis. Many natural products exert their apoptotic effects by inducing TRAIL-mediated cell death. It has been largely described that TRAIL selectively induces apoptosis of cancer cells without affecting normal cells.
“Furthermore, it has been described that many types of tumor are TRAIL-resistant due to the low expression levels of TRAIL receptors. Therefore, the development of agents that can sensitize cells to TRAIL-mediated cell death are needed. Here we showed that the treatment of lung, colon and leukemia cancer cells with Citrus nanovesicles affects pro-and anti-apoptotic pathways, leading to the increase in the mRNA levels of the pro-apoptotic molecules Bad and Bax, together with the decrease of pro-survival molecules, such as Survivin and Bcl-xl.
“Furthermore, we observed an increased expression of TRAIL-receptor, Dr5, in cancer cell lines treated with nanovesicles, together with the increase and release of TRAIL, thus hypothesizing an autocrine loop induced by lemon vesicles that leads to cancer cell death.“To validate our in vitro findings showing the pro-apoptotic effects of nanovesicles on tumor cell lines, we used an in vivo xenograft model of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).
Data reported here showed that the administration of Citrus nanovesicles strongly suppressed tumor growth and we confirmed, in vivo, that this effect was due not only to TRAIL-mediated apoptosis but also to the inhibition of angiogenic processes, as shown by the reduced levels of pro-angiogenic cytokines VEGF-A, IL6 and IL8. [ad] “Interestingly, our data are consistent with our previous results demonstrating the ability of exosomes-induced IL8 to stimulate CML cell proliferation and survival.
Moreover, through in vivo optical imaging analysis we proved that nanovesicles exert these effects by reaching tumor site. Overall, our data showed that the pro-apoptotic effects of Citrus limon may be attributed to structural components and in particular to exosomes-like nanovesicles. Furthermore, the possible mechanism by which nanovesicles exert the in vitro and in vivo antineoplastic activity involves TRAIL-mediated pathways as well as angiogenic inhibition. “In summary, we have identified for the first time nanovesicles from Citrus limon juice with antineoplastic potential. Our findings open to the possibility to develop new anticancer strategies based on the use of plant-edible nanovesicles.”Also, a current systematic review of both preclinical and clinical studies of anticancer potential of citrus juices and their extracts published in Frontiers of Pharmacology concluded: “The present review has summarized the current status of the anticancer effects of Citrus juices and their extracts. Our study highlights the importance of Citrus juices and their extracts in a multitargeted-pharmacological strategy, suggesting their role in the prevention of cancer as well as their possible use as co-adjuvants in modern oncological therapies. However, further experimental and clinical studies are needed to exploit the beneficial aspects of these juices and their extracts in full.” The systematic review included and discussed twenty preclinical studies in which Citrus juices or their extracts were used as anticancer agents. In particular, twelve papers evaluated the effect of Citrus juices in in vitro experimental models, and eight in in vivo ones.Also, Australian researchers had reported that laboratory tests show that lemon juice is a potent destroyer of both HIV and sperm. The team at Melbourne University, led by Roger Short, said if planned tests in primates and people are successful, lemon juice could be ideal for women without easy access to safe barrier contraceptives, such as condoms. But experts in anti-AIDS medications warn that the safety of using the juice internally and its efficacy in people are as yet unknown.Short said a solution of 10 per cent lemon juice produced a 1000-fold reduction in HIV activity in a lab sample. And half a teaspoon of the juice wiped out two teaspoons of sperm in 30 seconds.
The high acidity of the juice is responsible for killing HIV and sperm. Short said the great advantage of lemon or lime juice as an anti-viral contraceptive is that the fruit can be grown very cheaply in the developing world. He said women might use the juice by inserting a soaked piece of sponge or cotton wool before intercourse. Women researchers in Short’s lab said using the juice caused no pain. Another study published in Phytomedicine validated the use of lemon juice and lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus) for the treatment of oral candidiasis in an HIV population by the randomised controlled trial.
“The purpose of the study was to investigate the safety and efficacy of lemon juice and lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus) in the treatment of oral thrush in HIV/AIDS patients when compared with the control group using gentian violet aqueous solution 0.5%. Oral thrush is a frequent complication of HIV infection. “In the Moretele Hospice, due to financial constraints, the treatment routinely given to patients with oral thrush is either lemon juice directly into the mouth or a lemon grass infusion made from lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus) grown and dried at the hospice.
“These two remedies have been found to be very efficacious therefore are used extensively.Gentian violet, the first line medication for oral thrush in South Africa, is not preferred by the primary health clinic patients due to the visible purple stain, which leads them to being stigmatized as HIV-positive. Cymbopogon citratus and Citrus limon have known antifungal properties.” Citrus one of the important economically plants, but attention leaves and seeds the role of citrus not given importance in comparison to fruits despite the presence of phenols quantity that varies among species.
Majority of citrus fruits are preferably eaten fresh example, oranges, mandarins, grapefruits, clementines, and tangerines. Orange and grapefruit produce very palatable juice and hence are used to make nutritious and popular breakfast. [ad] Lemon is an important medicinal plant of the family Rutaceae. It is cultivated mainly for its alkaloids, which are having anti-cancer activities. Its fruits have peculiar fragrance partly due to flavonoids and limonoids present in the peel and these fruits are good sources of vitamin C and flavonoids. Lemons and limes can be used to make lemonades and pickles and their juices can be added to various food preparations as flavoring agents. Citrus fruits are rich sources of active compounds and beneficial for human health example, vitamin C, carotenoids, flavonoids, limonoids, essential oils, acridone alkaloids, minerals, and vitamin B complex.
Flavonoids especially polymethoxyflavones, flavanone glycosides, and limonoids are natural secondary metabolite compounds of citrus. Fruits have a lot of biological effective compounds, that have the ability to attack radical free and work as anti-natural oxidative stress, such as phenolic compounds (phenolic acids, flavonoids, and tannins) make them play an important role in reducing the risk of many diseases like cancers, cardiovascular and neurological diseases. [ad unit=2]