Constituents and mode of action

Mistletoe extracts are complex multicomponent mixtures with numerous constituents and multiple anti-carcinogenic effects [171, 172, 173].

Mistletoe extracts are well-known for their immunomodulating properties. In vitro and in vivo they activate monocytes/macrophages, granulocytes, natural killer cells (NK cells) [181], T-cells (especially T-helper cells), induce various cytokines [174, 175], stabilise DNA, reduce chromosomal defects and improve DNA repair [182, 183, 184, 185].

The most remarkable properties are the effects on tumour processes with cytotoxic and growth-inhibiting effects, applied to a variety of tumour cell lines, lymphocytes and fibroblasts in vitro [174, 175].

The cytotoxic effects of mistletoe extracts are mainly caused by apoptosis-inducing mistletoe lectins [176, 177, 178], while viscotoxins induce necrotic cell death [179, 180].

In animal experiments mistletoe extracts show significant anti-tumour effects [174, 175].


Last update: December 15th, 2020/AT1

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