Boswellia serrata resin extract alleviates azoxymethane (AOM)/dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-induced colon tumorigenesis

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2017 Sep;61(9). doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201600984. Epub 2017 Mar 30.


Scope: Boswellia serrata (BS) resin is a popular dietary supplement for joint nourishment. In this study, we investigated the chemopreventive effects of dietary BS extract and its impact of gut microbiota on azoxymethane/dextran sulfate sodium (AOM/DSS)-induced colitis-associated colon cancer in mice.

Methods and results: Male ICR mice were injected with AOM and 2% DSS via drinking water. The mice were fed with 0.25 or 0.5% BS extract, and colonic tissue were collected at 15 weeks. The main effective components of BS supercritical CO2 extraction were analyzed by LC-MS/MS are boswellic acids. We found that treatment with BS extract significantly reduce the colonic tumor formation. Western blot and histological analysis revealed that dietary BS extract could markedly reduce the inflammation associated protein levels expression. Furthermore, BS extract reduced cell proliferation via inhibiting phosphorylation level of protein kinase B (Akt), glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β), and downregulation of cyclin D1. In addition, BS extract also altered the composition of gut microbiota by enhancing the proportion of Clostridiales and reducing the percentage of Bacteroidales.

Conclusion: In summary, BS extract decreased the protein levels of inflammative enzymes such as inducible nitric oxide synthase and cyclooxygenase-2 in colonic mucosa. It also mediated Akt/GSK3β/cyclin D1 signaling pathway and altered the composition of gut microbiota to alleviate tumor growth. Taken together, this study suggests that BS extract has great potential to suppress colon tumorigenesis.

Keywords: Azoxymethane; Boswellia Serrata; Colorectal cancer; Dextran sulfate sodium; Inflammation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Azoxymethane
  • Boswellia*
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Colonic Neoplasms / chemically induced
  • Colonic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cyclin D1 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Dextran Sulfate
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 beta / antagonists & inhibitors
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System / drug effects
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Resins, Plant / pharmacology*


  • Ccnd1 protein, mouse
  • Plant Extracts
  • Resins, Plant
  • Cyclin D1
  • Dextran Sulfate
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 beta
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Azoxymethane