The effects of d-limonene on hepatocarcinogenesis induced by N-nitrosomorpholine (NNM) and on membrane-associated p21(ras) and labeling and apoptotic indices of the liver were investigated in male Sprague-Dawley rats. Rats were given drinking water containing NNM for 8 weeks, and from the beginning of experimental week 9, they received chow pellets containing 1% or 2% limonene. The preneoplastic and neoplastic liver lesions (cellular alteration foci, neoplastic nodules and hepatocellular carcinomas), and hepatic foci staining positive for glutathione-S-transferase, placental type (GST-P) were examined microscopically and histochemically. At week 16, quantitative histologic analysis showed that oral administration of 1% or 2% limonene resulted in significant reductions in the number and mean area of GST-P-positive hepatic foci and the number of cellular alteration foci, neoplastic nodules and hepatocellular carcinomas. Limonene, at both doses, also caused significant decreases in the labeling indices and significant increases in the apoptotic indices of cellular alteration foci, neoplastic nodules, hepatocellular carcinomas and adjacent liver. However, limonene, at both doses, had no significant influence on the production of membrane-associated p21(ras) in the visible liver white nodules. These findings indicate that limonene inhibits hepatocarcinogenesis and suggest that this effect may be clearly related to its effect in inhibiting cell proliferation and in enhancing apoptosis, but not through ras oncoprotein plasma membrane association.
Kaji I, Tatsuta M, Iishi H, Baba M, Inoue A, Kasugai H. Inhibition by d-limonene of experimental hepatocarcinogenesis in Sprague-Dawley rats does not involve p21(ras) plasma membrane association. Int J Cancer. 2001 August Department of Gastroenterology, Osaka Medical Center for Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases, Osaka, Japan.