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Food Chem Toxicol. 2017 Sep;107(Pt A):261-269. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2017.07.005. Epub 2017 Jul 4.

Chemopreventive effects of a Tamarindus indica fruit extract against colon carcinogenesis depends on the dietary cholesterol levels in hamsters.

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Department Clinical Analysis, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianopolis, Brazil.
Department of Toxicology, Bromatology, and Clinical Analysis, University of Sao Paulo, Ribeirao Preto, Brazil. Electronic address:
Department of Toxicology, Bromatology, and Clinical Analysis, University of Sao Paulo, Ribeirao Preto, Brazil.
Department of Animal Science, São Paulo State University, Jaboticabal, Brazil.
Department of Pathology, University of Sao Paulo, Ribeirao Preto, Brazil.


Tamarind has significant antioxidant potential. We showed that tamarind protects hypercholesterolemic hamsters from atherosclerosis. Hypercholesterolemia might increase the risk of colon cancer. We investigated whether tamarind extract modulates the risk of colon cancer in hypercholesterolemic hamsters. Hamsters (n = 64) were given tamarind and a hypercholesterolemic diet for 8 weeks. The groups were the control, tamarind treatment, hypercholesterolemic, and hypercholesterolemic treated with tamarind groups. Half of each group was exposed to the carcinogen dimethylhydrazine (DMH) at the 8th week. All hamsters were euthanatized at the 10th week. In carcinogen-exposed hypercholesterolemic hamsters, tamarind did not alter the cholesterol or triglyceride serum levels, but it reduced biomarkers of liver damage (alanine transaminase [ALT], and aspartate aminotransferase [AST]). Tamarind decreased DNA damage in hepatocytes, as demonstrated by analysis with an anti-γH2A.X antibody. In liver and serum samples, we found that this fruit extract reduced lipid peroxidation (thiobarbituric acid reactive substances [TBARS]) and increased endogenous antioxidant mechanisms (glutathione peroxidase [GPx] and superoxide dismutase [SOD]). However, tamarind did not alter either lipid peroxidation or antioxidant defenses in the colon, which contrasts with DMH exposure. Moreover, tamarind significantly increased the stool content of cholesterol. Although tamarind reduced the risk of colon cancer in hypercholesterolemic hamsters that were carcinogenically exposed to DMH by 63.8% (Metallothionein), it was still ∼51% higher than for animals fed a regular diet. Staining colon samples with an anti-γH2A.X antibody confirmed these findings. We suggest that tamarind has chemoprotective activity against the development of colon carcinogenesis, although a hypercholesterolemic diet might impair this protection.


Antioxidant potential; Cholesterol; Hypercholesterolemia; Lipid peroxidation; Oxidative stress; Tamarind

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