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Carcinogenesis. 2002 May;23(5):795-802.

Zerumbone, a Southeast Asian ginger sesquiterpene, markedly suppresses free radical generation, proinflammatory protein production, and cancer cell proliferation accompanied by apoptosis: the alpha,beta-unsaturated carbonyl group is a prerequisite.

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Department of Biotechnological Science, Faculty of Biology-Oriented Science and Technology, Kinki University, Wakayama 649-6493, Japan.


Zerumbone (ZER), a sesquiterpene from the edible plant Zingiber zerumbet Smith, has recently been found to suppress tumor promoter 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA)-induced Epstein-Barr virus activation in a potent manner. In the present study, we evaluated the anti-inflammatory and chemopreventive potentials of ZER in a variety of cell culture experiments. ZER effectively suppressed TPA-induced superoxide anion generation from both NADPH oxidase in dimethylsulfoxide-differentiated HL-60 human acute promyelocytic leukemia cells and xanthine oxidase in AS52 Chinese hamster ovary cells. The combined lipopolysaccharide- and interferon-gamma-stimulated protein expressions of inducible nitric oxide synthase and cyclooxygenase (COX)-2, together with the release of tumor necrosis factor-alpha, in RAW 264.7 mouse macrophages were also markedly diminished. These suppressive events were accompanied with a combined decrease in the medium concentrations of nitrite and prostaglandin E(2), while the expression level of COX-1 was unchanged. ZER inhibited the proliferation of human colonic adenocarcinoma cell lines (LS174T, LS180, COLO205, and COLO320DM) in a dose-dependent manner, while the growth of normal human dermal (2F0-C25) and colon (CCD-18 Co) fibroblasts was less affected. It also induced apoptosis in COLO205 cells, as detected by dysfunction of the mitochondria transmembrane, Annexin V-detected translocation of phosphatidylserine, and chromatin condensation. Intriguingly, alpha-humulene, a structural analog lacking only the carbonyl group in ZER, was virtually inactive in all experiments conducted, indicating that the alpha,beta-unsaturated carbonyl group in ZER may play some pivotal roles in interactions with unidentified target molecule(s). Taken together, our results indicate that ZER is a food phytochemical that has distinct potentials for use in anti-inflammation, chemoprevention, and chemotherapy strategies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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