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Nutr Cancer. 2014;66(2):234-41. doi: 10.1080/01635581.2014.863364. Epub 2013 Dec 23.

β-ionone inhibits persistent preneoplastic lesions during the early promotion phase of rat hepatocarcinogenesis: TGF-α, NF-κB, and p53 as cellular targets.

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  • 1a Laboratory of Diet, Nutrition and Cancer, Department of Food and Experimental Nutrition, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences , University of São Paulo , São Paulo , Brazil.


Dietary isoprenic derivatives such as β-ionone (βI) are a promising class of chemopreventive agents. In this study, cellular aspects of βI protective activities during early hepatocarcinogenesis were evaluated. Male Wistar rats were submitted to "resistant hepatocyte" model and then received daily 16 mg/100 g body weight (b.w.) of βI (βI group) or only 0.25 mL/100 g b.w. of corn oil (vehicle, control group [CO]) during 4 wk, specifically during early promotion phase. Compared to controls, βI inhibited (P < 0.05) the development of persistent preneoplastic lesions (pPNL), considered to be potential hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) progression sites, and increased remodeling PNL (rPNL) (P < 0.05) that tend to regress to a normal phenotype. Increased βI hepatic levels (P < 0.05), in the βI group, were associated with its chemopreventive actions. Compared to control rats, βI reduced the frequency of both pPNL and rPNL positive for tumor growth factor (TGF)-α (P < 0.05), reduced the frequency of pPNL stained for p65 (nuclear factor-kappaB; NF-κB) (P < 0.05), and reduced the frequency of pPNL positive for cytoplasmic p53 (P < 0.05). Our data demonstrated that βI targets TGF-α, NF-κB, and p53 in initial phases of hepatocarcinogenesis and specifically inhibits PNL with increased probability to progress to HCC. This isoprenoid may represent a chemopreventive agent of choice for HCC control.

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