Scope: Colorectal cancer is an important health problem across the world. Here, we investigated the possible antiproliferative/proapoptotic effects of bromelain (from the pineapple stem Ananas comosus L., family Bromeliaceae) in a human colorectal carcinoma cell line and its potential chemopreventive effect in a murine model of colon cancer.
Methods and results: Proliferation and apoptosis were evaluated in human colon adenocarcinoma (Caco-2) cells by the (3) H-thymidine incorporation assay and caspase 3/7 activity measurement, respectively. Extracellular signal-related kinase (ERK) and Akt expression were evaluated by Western blot analysis, reactive oxygen species production by a fluorimetric method. In vivo, bromelain was evaluated using the azoxymethane murine model of colon carcinogenesis. Bromelain reduced cell proliferation and promoted apoptosis in Caco-2 cells. The effect of bromelain was associated to downregulation of pERK1/2/total, ERK, and pAkt/Akt expression as well as to reduction of reactive oxygen species production. In vivo, bromelain reduced the development of aberrant crypt foci, polyps, and tumors induced by azoxymethane.
Conclusion: Bromelain exerts antiproliferative and proapoptotic effects in colorectal carcinoma cells and chemopreventive actions in colon carcinogenesis in vivo. Bromelain-containing foods and/or bromelain itself may represent good candidates for colorectal cancer chemoprevention.
Keywords: Bromelain; Cell proliferation; Chemoprevention; Colon cancer; Protease.
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