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Black pepper prevents cell proliferation in vitro

Article-Black pepper prevents cell proliferation in vitro

Black pepper prevents cell proliferation in vitro.jpg
Extracts from black pepper show activity against human leukaemia cell lines.

According to research published in Toxicology Research (DOI:, black pepper extracts could be of interest  as a preventive measure against chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML).

Piperine is a major alkaloid present in Piper nigrum black pepper—previously reported to have anticancer, immune-modulatory, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic properties. Researchers from India analysed the effects of black pepper and piperine against the human bone marrow origin leukaemia K-562 cells and normal human lung fibroblast MRC-5 cells line cells. Researchers extracted compounds from the matured fruit of black pepper—peppercorn—with methanol (BP-M), ethanol (BP-E) and water (BP-Aq).

The extracts were shown to be rich in phenolic and flavonoid compounds; 44 metabolites were identified in all extracts (BP-M, BP-E and BP-Aq) at different concentrations. Researchers found 0.78, 0.67 and 0.032 ng/mg dry weight of pure piperine (PIP) in BP-M, BP-E and BP-Aq, respectively.

The treatment of cell lines with PIP showed strong cytotoxicity, with BP-M showing the highest level of cytotoxicity. Researchers noted, “BP-M is most effective in preventing K-562 cell viability.” Thus, they decided only to use BP-M for the current paper. Interestingly, BP-M and PIP were both shown to halt K-562 cell line proliferation. “The live-cell population of K-562 cells reduced by about 2- and 3-fold in response to IC50 equivalent concentrations of BP-M and PIP, respectively, indicative of inhibition of proliferation and/or viability of K-562 cells (P < 0.05) by these phytoconstituents,” researchers highlighted. 

They concluded: “Both black pepper and its main metabolite PIP are potent impediments of cellular proliferation in leukemic cells. […] The cytotoxic potential of both black pepper and PIP increases with the progression of time and dose of treatments. Based on these data, it could be accepted that the involvement of black pepper in regular dietary practice may prevent the development of CML.”