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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2005 Nov 30;1726(3):328-35. Epub 2005 Oct 3.

Fucoxanthin induces cell cycle arrest at G0/G1 phase in human colon carcinoma cells through up-regulation of p21WAF1/Cip1.

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Department of Life Science, Graduate School of Science and Technology, Kobe University, 1-1 Rokkodai, Kobe, Nada, Hyogo 657-8501, Japan.


Fucoxanthin, a natural carotenoid, has been reported to have antitumorigenic activity in mouse colon, skin and duodenum models. The present study was designed to evaluate the molecular mechanisms of fucoxanthin against colon cancer using the human colon adenocarcinoma cell lines. Fucoxanthin reduced the viability of WiDr cells in a dose-dependent manner accompanied by the induction of cell cycle arrest during the G0/G1 phase at 25 microM and apoptosis at 50 microM. Fucoxanthin at 25 microM inhibited the phosphorylation of the retinoblastoma protein (pRb) at Ser780 and Ser807/811 24 h after treatment without changes in the protein levels of the D-types of cyclin and cyclin-dependent kinase (cdk) 4, whose complexes are responsible for the phosphorylation of pRb at these sites. A cdk inhibitory protein, p21WAF1/Cip1 increased 24 h after the treatment with 25 microM of fucoxanthin, but not p27Kip1. In addition, the mRNA of p21WAF1/Cip1 also increased in a dose-dependent manner. According to the experiments using the isogenic human colon adenocarcinoma cell lines, fucoxanthin failed to induce G0/G1 arrest in the p21-deficient HCT116 cells, but not in HCT116 wild-type cells. All of these findings showed that fucoxanthin inhibited proliferation of colon cancer cells. The inhibitory mechanism is due to the cell cycle arrest during the G0/G1 phase mediated through the up-regulation of p21WAF1/Cip1, which may be related to the antitumorigenic activity.

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