Study Title:

Gamma Tocotrienol and Colon Cancer

Study Abstract

OBJECTIVE: gamma-Tocotrienol is a major component of the tocotrienol-rich fraction of palm oil, but there is limited evidence that it has antitumor activity. In particular, the effects of gamma-tocotrienol on human colon carcinoma cells have not been reported. To investigate the chemopreventive effects of gamma-tocotrienol on colon cancer, we examined its capacity to inhibit proliferation and induce apoptosis in HT-29 cells and explored the mechanism underlying these effects.

METHODS: We cultured HT-29 cells in the presence of gamma-tocotrienol. The effect of gamma-tocotrienol on cell proliferation was investigated by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay, mitotic index, and colony formation. The cell-cycle distribution was investigated by flow cytometry. We measured apoptosis by nuclear staining, transmission electron microscopy, and DNA fragmentation. Apoptosis-related proteins and the nuclear factor-kappaB p65 protein were determined by western blotting and immunofluorescence.

RESULTS: gamma-Tocotrienol inhibited cell growth and arrested HT-29 cells in G(0)/G(1) phase. The 50% inhibitory concentration was 31.7 micromol/L (48 h). gamma-Tocotrienol-induced apoptosis in HT-29 cells was accompanied by downregulation of Bcl-2, upregulation of Bax, and activation of caspase-3. Furthermore, we found that gamma-tocotrienol reduced the expression level of total nuclear factor-kappaB p65 protein and inhibited its nuclear translocation.

CONCLUSION: The results indicated that gamma-tocotrienol inhibits cell proliferation and induces apoptosis in HT-29 cells in a time- and dose-dependent manner, and that this process is accompanied by cell-cycle arrest at G(0)/G(1), an increased Bax/Bcl-2 ratio, and activation of caspase-3. Our data also indicated that nuclear factor-kappaB p65 protein may be involved in these effects.

Study Information

Xu WL, Liu JR, Liu HK, Qi GY, Sun XR, Sun WG, Chen BQ.
Inhibition of proliferation and induction of apoptosis by gamma-tocotrienol in human colon carcinoma HT-29 cells.
2009 May
Department of Nutrition and Food Hygiene, Public Health School, Harbin Medical University, Harbin, People's Republic of China.

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