Attenuation of Rat Colon Carcinogenesis by Styela plicata Aqueous Extract. Modulation of NF-κB Pathway and Cytoplasmic Sod1 Gene Expression

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Genetics and Cancer Research. Research Lab. of Molecular Carcinogenesis, Zoology Department, Faculty of Science, Tanta University, Tanta, Egypt.

2 Zoology Department, Faculty of Science, Tanta University, Tanta 31527- Egypt.


Objective: In search for a unique natural combination of highly active biological components for treatment against colon cancer, we used aqueous extract of Ascidia, Styela plicata (ASCex), a marine invertebrate depending on its richness of high levels of biologically active components as indicated in our previous studies, against rat colon cancer, exploring its underlying mechanisms. Methods: Rats chemically initiated for colon cancer were either non-treated or post-treated with highly saturated ASCex for 32 weeks after initiation, other groups of rats were administered ASCex without cancer initiation or served as normal controls. Results: Rats treated with ASCex alone did not show any signs of non-favored health conditions. Treatment with ASCex after cancer initiation has significantly reduced the average incidences, multiplicities and volumes of colon tumors (adenomas and adenocarcinomas) as compared with the non-treated cancer group. ASCex has also significantly reduced the total numbers of aberrant crypt foci (ACF), surrogate biomarkers for colon cancer as compared with the non-treated cancer group. Moreover, anti-proliferative celluar nucular antigen (PCNA) immunohistochemical staining revealed that ASCex exerted significant antiproliferative characteristics in the carcinogen-treated colonic mucosa as compared with its corresponding control. Also, treatment with ASCex has markedly down-regulated the mRNA expression levels of Nuclear Factor-kappa B (NF-κB), a nuclear transcriptional activator as well as the mRNA expression of the cytoplasmic SOD1 gene which encodes Cu/Zn SOD, the first line defense against superoxide radicals. Conclusion: Collectively, ASCex could act as a potent chemotherapeutic drug against colon cancer, likely through the influence of its rich active metabolites which interfere with various biological pathways including inhibition of protein synthesis during cellular growth and marked induction of antioxidative capacity in the colonic mucosa. This role has been extensively discussed herein.


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