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Mol Nutr Food Res. 2010 Mar;54(3):311-22. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.200900152.

Occurrence of urolithins, gut microbiota ellagic acid metabolites and proliferation markers expression response in the human prostate gland upon consumption of walnuts and pomegranate juice.

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Research Group on Quality, Safety and Bioactivity of Plant Foods, Department of Food Science and Technology, CEBAS-CSIC, Murcia, Spain.


Epidemiology supports the important role of nutrition in prostate cancer (PCa) prevention. Pomegranate juice (PJ) exerts protective effects against PCa, mainly attributed to PJ ellagitannins (ETs). Our aim was to assess whether ETs or their metabolites ellagic acid and urolithins reach the human prostate upon consumption of ET-rich foods and to evaluate the effect on the expression of three proliferation biomarkers. Sixty-three patients with BPH or PCa were divided into controls and consumers of walnuts (35 g walnuts/day) or pomegranate (200 mL PJ/day) for 3 days before surgery. Independently of the ETs source, the main metabolite detected was urolithin A glucuronide, (3,8-dihydroxy-6H-dibenzo[b,d]pyran-6-one glucuronide) (up to 2 ng/g) together with the traces of urolithin B glucuronide, (3-hydroxy-6H-dibenzo[b,d]pyran-6-one glucuronide) and dimethyl ellagic acid. The small number of prostates containing metabolites was likely caused by clearance of the compounds during the fasting. This was corroborated in a parallel rat study and thus the presence of higher quantities of metabolites at earlier time points cannot be discarded. No apparent changes in the expression of CDKN1A, MKi-67 or c-Myc were found after consumption of the walnuts or PJ. Our results suggest that urolithin glucuronides and dimethyl ellagic acid may be the molecules responsible for the beneficial effects of PJ against PCa.

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