Açaí Berries Inhibit Colon Tumorigenesis in Azoxymethane/Dextran Sulfate Sodium-Treated Mice

Gut Liver. 2017 Mar 15;11(2):243-252. doi: 10.5009/gnl16068.


Background/aims: The aim of this study was to investigate the protective effect of açaí against azoxymethane (AOM)/dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced colorectal cancer development.

Methods: The effect of açaí on tumorigenesis was assessed by evaluating tumor incidence, multiplicity and invasiveness in the mouse colon. The levels of myeloperoxidase (MPO) and proinflammatory cytokines (tumor necrosis factor α [TNF-α], interleukin [IL]-1β, and IL-6) were measured via enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Protein levels of cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2), proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2), Bcl-2-associated death promoter (Bad) and cleaved-caspase-3 were assessed by immunoblotting.

Results: Administration of pellets containing 5% açaí powder reduced the incidences of both colonic adenoma and cancer (adenoma, 23.1% vs 76.9%, respectively, p=0.006; cancer, 15.4% vs 76.9%, respectively, p=0.002). In the açaí-treated mice, the MPO, TNF-α, IL-1β and IL-6 levels in the colon were significantly down-regulated. Açaí inhibited PCNA and Bcl-2 expression and increased Bad and cleaved-caspase-3 expression. In vitro studies demonstrated that açaí treatment reduced lipopolysaccharide-induced expression of TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6 and COX-2 in murine macrophage RAW 264.7 cells.

Conclusions: Açaí demonstrated protective effects against AOM/DSS-induced colon carcinogenesis, which suggests that the intake of açaí may be beneficial for the prevention of human colon cancer.

Keywords: Anti-inflammatory; Açaí berry; Colorectal neoplasms; Proapoptotic.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Azoxymethane
  • Carcinogenesis / drug effects
  • Carcinogens
  • Colon / metabolism
  • Colon / pathology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / chemically induced
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Dextran Sulfate
  • Down-Regulation / drug effects
  • Euterpe*
  • Genes, bcl-2 / drug effects
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Phytotherapy / methods*
  • Powders / pharmacology*
  • Proliferating Cell Nuclear Antigen / drug effects


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Carcinogens
  • Cytokines
  • Powders
  • Proliferating Cell Nuclear Antigen
  • Dextran Sulfate
  • Peroxidase
  • Azoxymethane