Gac, Momordica cochinchinensis (Lour.) Spreng., Cucurbitaceae, is an indigenous South Asian edible fruit and has been used therapeutically in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Previous studies have shown that M. cochinchinensis seed (Momordicae Semen) has various pharmaceutical properties such as antioxidant and anti-ulcer effects as well as contains secondary metabolites with potential anticancer activities such as triterpenoids and saponins. However, its biological activities in cancer have not yet been investigated. In this study, we found that its ethanol extract reduced cell proliferation in four human lung cancer cell lines, A549, H1264, H1299 and Calu-6. Phytochemical investigation of the ethanol extract was carried out, and resulted in isolation of two major saponins, which were identified as gypsogenin 3-O-β-d-galactopyranosyl(1 → 2)-[α-l-rhamnopyranosyl(1 → 3)]-β-d-glucuronopyranoside (1) and quillaic acid 3-O-β-d-galactopyranosyl(1 → 2)-[α-l-rhamnopyranosyl(1 → 3)]-β-d-glucuronopyranoside (2). Treatment with these isolated compounds (1 and 2) decreased cel1 proliferation in all human lung cancer cell lines tested. In addition, the compounds attenuated primary lung endothelial cell proliferation. Taken together, these findings suggest M. cochinchinensis seeds have antiproliferative activity on human lung cancer cells as well as angiostatic effect on lung endothelial cells.
In this study, we analyzed fatty acid and carotenoid composition of fruit tissues, including seed (which are surrounded by a bright red, oily aril) of Momordica cochinchinensis Spreng, known as gac in Vietnam. Carotenoid content was analyzed by reversed-phase HPLC, using a C30 column and a method separating cis- and trans-isomers of the major carotenoids in this fruit. Mean values obtained in aril tissues were 1342 μg trans-, 204 μg cis-, and 2227 μg total lycopene; 597 μg trans-, 39 μg cis-, and 718 μg total β-carotene; and 107 μg α-carotene/g FW. Mesocarp contained 11 μg trans-, 5 μg cis-β-carotene/g FW, trace amounts of α-carotene, and no lycopene. Gac aril contained 22% fatty acids by weight, composed of 32% oleic, 29% palmitic, and 28% linoleic acids. Seeds contained primarily stearic acid (60.5%), smaller amounts of linoleic (20%), oleic (9%), and palmitic (5−6%) acids, and trace amounts of arachidic, cis-vaccenic, linolenic, and palmitoleic, eicosa-11-enoic acids, and eicosa-13-enoic (in one fruit only) acids.
Keywords: Momordica cochinchinensis Spreng; fatty acids; carotenoids; HPLC; lycopene; β-carotene; aril; mesocarp; seed; oil.