Background: Natural products are characterized by a complex chemical composition and
are capable of concurrently modulate several signalling pathways. Considering the biological complexity
of carcinogenesis, natural products represent key components of the therapeutic armamentarium
for oncological diseases. The bark of Terminalia arjuna is used in traditional Ayurvedic
medicine for its astringent, expectorant, cardiotonic, styptic, and antidysenteric properties. Alongside
its traditional uses, Terminalia arjuna exhibits different biological activities including antimutagenic
Objective: This study was designed to evaluate the toxic effects of an alcoholic extract obtained
from the bark of T. arjuna on a human T-lymphoblastic cell line (Jurkat). We explored the phytochemical
composition and investigated the cytotoxic, cytostatic, genotoxic, and anti-genotoxic effects.
Methods: The phytochemical composition was analyzed using spectrophotometric methods; all the
biological endpoints were assessed through flow cytometry.
Results: The phytochemical screening showed that polyphenols represent about 64% of the extract.
Moreover, the extract was cytotoxic on Jurkat cells by inducing both apoptosis and necrosis, and
blocked the cell cycle in the G2/M phase. Additionally, it was found that the extract lacks any genotoxic
effect, but was not effective in protecting Jurkat cells from the DNA damage induced by H2O2
Conclusion: The results of our study show the toxic effects of Terminalia arjuna on Jurkat cells
and confirm the pivotal role played by natural compounds in the oncological field. Further studies
should be performed to better understand its clinical potential and deepen its toxicological profile.