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Neuropharmacology. 1992 Jun; 31(6): 599-607.

Ayurvedic (science of life) agents induce differentiation in murine neuroblastoma cells in culture.

Prasad KN, Edwards-Prasad J, Kentroti S, Brodie C, Vernadakis A.

Department of Radiology, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver 80262.

Many Indian Ayurvedic (science of life) agents have been introduced into the U.S.A. as food supplements. Two of them, Maharishi Amrit Kalash-Ambrosia (MAK-A) and Maharishi Amrit Kalash-Nectar (MAK-N) are under investigation. This study shows that an ethanol extract of MAK-A induced morphological (neurite formation) and biochemical (increase of activity of tyrosine hydroxylase by about 15-fold) differentiation in murine neuroblastoma (NBP2) cells in culture, whereas an aqueous extract of MAK-A increased only the activity of tyrosine hydroxylase but to a much lesser extent. The treatment time of 3 days was needed for the expression of maximum differentiation. Ethanol extracts of MAK-A and aqueous extracts of MAK-A increased the intracellular level of adenosine 3',5'-cyclic monophosphate (cAMP) by about 4-fold in 3 days but they did not do so in 15 min. Ethanol extracts of MAK-A also induced neurite formation in neuroblastoma cells grown in serum free medium but the concentration requirement was about a fifth of that needed in serum. The treatment time of 24 hr was sufficient to induce optimal differentiation in neuroblastoma cells grown in serum free medium. The differentiating agents in ethanol-MAK-A were resistant to heat and light and could not be removed by treatment with activated charcoal. Neither ethanol-MAK-N nor aqueous-MAK-N induced differentiation in neuroblastoma cells, suggesting that the differentiating agents were present only in MAK-A.

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