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World J Gastroenterol. 2005 Oct 28;11(40):6254-7.

Capsaicin-induced cell death in a human gastric adenocarcinoma cell line.

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Department and Graduate Institute of Pharmacology, Kaohsiung Medical University, 807 Taiwan, China.



Capsaicin, a pungent ingredient found in red pepper, has long been used in spices, food additives, and drugs. Cell death induced by the binding of capsaicin was examined in a human gastric adenocarcinoma cell line (AGS cells).


By using XTT-based cytotoxicity assay, flow cytometry using the TUNEL method, and quantitation of DNA fragmentation, both cell death and DNA fragmentation were detected in AGS cells treated with capsaicin. By using Western blotting methods, capsaicin reduced the expression of Bcl-2, the antiapoptotic protein, in AGS cells in a concentration-dependent manner.


After incubation of AGS cells with capsaicin for 24 h, cell viability decreased significantly in a dose-dependent manner. After incubation of AGS cells with capsaicin for 24 h, apoptotic bodies also significantly increased, and were again correlated with the dose of capsaicin. When the concentration of capsaicin was 1 mmol/L, the amount of DNA fragments also increased. Similar results were also in the lower traces.


These results suggest that capsaicin-induced cell death might be via a Bcl-2 sensitive apoptotic pathway. Therefore, capsaicin might induce protection from gastric cancer.

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