Induction of apoptosis of SW480 human colon cancer cells by (-)-epicatechin isolated from Bulnesia sarmienti

Anticancer Res. 2012 Dec;32(12):5353-61.


Background/aim: (-)-Epicatechin is a major constituent of Bulnesia sarmienti, which is known to possess anticancer properties. Here we report that (-)-epicatechin isolated from B. Sarmienti inhibited growth and induced apoptosis of SW480 human colon cancer cells.

Materials and methods: Cells were treated with different concentrations (0, 25, 50, and 100 μmol/ml) of (-)-epicatechin. 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay, 40,6-diamidine-20-phenylindole dihydrochloride (DAPI) staining, colony-forming assay, DNA fragmentation analysis, reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), annexin V-fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC) staining, and immunoblot analyses were then carried out.

Results: (-)-Epicatechin was found to have cytotoxic activity, and cells treated with this compound had fragmented nuclei, fragmented DNA, and underwent apoptosis. mRNA and protein expression levels of BCL2-associated X protein (BAX) and p53 were up-regulated and those of B-cell lymphoma-2 (BCL2) were down-regulated, while p21 mRNA levels were significantly increased in cells treated with (-)-epicatechin in a concentration-dependent manner.

Conclusion: (-)-Epicatechin from B. Sarmienti inhibited colon cancer cell growth and induced apoptosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / isolation & purification
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Catechin / isolation & purification
  • Catechin / pharmacology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Colonic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Colonic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Fluorescent Dyes / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Indoles / chemistry
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / biosynthesis
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Stereoisomerism
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / biosynthesis
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / genetics
  • Zygophyllaceae / chemistry
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein / biosynthesis
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein / genetics


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • BAX protein, human
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Indoles
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • RNA, Messenger
  • TP53 protein, human
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein
  • DAPI
  • Catechin