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J Nutr Biochem. 2012 Aug;23(8):915-23. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2011.04.017. Epub 2011 Aug 17.

Damnacanthal, a noni component, exhibits antitumorigenic activity in human colorectal cancer cells.

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Department of Biomedical and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996-4542, USA.


Damnacanthal, an anthraquinone compound, is isolated from the roots of Morinda citrifolia L. (noni), which has been used for traditional therapy in several chronic diseases including cancer. Although noni has been consumed for a long time in Asian and Polynesian countries, the molecular mechanisms by which it exerts several benefits are starting to emerge. In this report, we examined systematic approaches on the cancer-suppressing capability of damnacanthal in colorectal tumorigenesis. Damnacanthal exhibits cell growth arrest as well as caspase activity induction in colorectal cancer cells. We also examined several potential target proteins and found that the proapoptotic protein nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory activated gene-1 (NAG-1) is highly induced. Subsequently, we have found that damnacanthal also enhances transcription factor CCAAT/enhancer binding protein β (C/EBPβ), which controls NAG-1 transcriptional activity. Blocking of C/EBPβ by shRNA results in the reduction of NAG-1 expression as well as caspase activity in the presence of damnacanthal. Taken together, these results indicate that damnacanthal increases antitumorigenic activity in human colorectal cancer cells and that C/EBPβ plays a role in damnacanthal-induced NAG-1 expression.

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