Antiproliferative and apoptosis-inducing effect of common Tunisian date seed (var. Korkobbi and Arechti) phytochemical-rich methanolic extract

  • Amira ThouriEmail author
  • Livia La Barbera
  • Lorena Canuti
  • Rolando Vegliante
  • Aicha Jelled
  • Guido Flamini
  • Maria Rosa Ciriolo
  • Lotfi Achour
Research Article


In this study, the potential of date seed extracts to induce growth inhibition and apoptosis in HepG2 and HeLa cells was investigated. Analysis of the phytochemical compound content of the two Tunisian minor date seed extracts named Arechti and Korkobbi was determined. Moreover, their antioxidant properties are assessed through different assays including DPPH, ABTS, FRAP, TBARS, and phosphomolybdenum methods. Whereas, the cytotoxic effect was evaluated and apoptosis induction was confirmed by western blot technique (caspase-9, caspase-3, and PARP-1). The results proved the richness in phytochemical compounds of these by-products which explains the high in vitro antioxidant activity and the antiproliferative effects of both seed extracts. Additionally, the decrease in total PARP-1, procaspase-3 levels, and the increase of cleaved caspase-9 revealed the apoptotic effect of date seed extracts. These results collectively illustrate the potential of date seed extracts to induce growth inhibition and apoptosis in HepG2 and HeLa cells thanks to its phytochemical richness.


Date seed Antiproliferative effect Antioxidant activities Phytochemical compounds Apoptosis 



2,2′-Azinobis-3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid




Thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances


Poly [ADP-ribose] polymerase 1



The authors would like to thank all of the colleagues and students who contributed to this study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Laboratory, “Bioresources: Biology Integrative and Valorization”Higher Institute of Biotechnology of MonastirMonastirTunisia
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of Rome “Tor Vergata”RomeItaly
  3. 3.Laboratory of Histology and Cytogenetic and Childhood Disease UR12ES10, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of MonastirMonastirTunisia
  4. 4.Dipartimento di FarmaciaUniversity of PisaPisaItaly
  5. 5.Centro Interdipartimentale di Ricerca “Nutraceutica e Alimentazione per la Salute” NutrafoodUniversity of PisaPisaItaly

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