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Chin Med. 2019 May 31;14:22. doi: 10.1186/s13020-019-0244-y. eCollection 2019.

A tannin compound from Sanguisorba officinalis blocks Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway and induces apoptosis of colorectal cancer cells.

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1School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, 510006 People's Republic of China.
2Department of Pharmaceutical Analysis and Analytical Chemistry, College of Pharmacy, Harbin Medical University, Harbin, 150081 Heilongjiang China.
3School of Pharmacy, Shenyang Pharmaceutical University, Shenyang, 110016, China.
4NICM Health Research Institute, Western Sydney University, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith, NSW 2751 Australia.



Sanguisorba officinalis, a popular Chinese herb, called DiYu, has been shown to inhibit the growth of many human cancer cell lines, including colorectal cancer cells. The aims of this study were to discover the active compound and molecular mechanism of S. officinalis against Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway and develop Wnt inhibitors from natural products as anti-colorectal cancer agents.


1,4,6-Tri-O-galloyl-β-d-glucopyranose (TGG) was obtained by the preparative HPLC. The effect of DiYu on proliferation of NIH3T3 and HT29 was detected by MTT assay. Luciferase reporter assay was applied to investigate the activity of Wnt/β-catenin signaling in NIH3T3. The expression levels of mRNA and protein were detected by RT-PCR and western blot. Immunofluorescence assay was used to measure the level of β-catenin in cytoplasm and nucleus. Transcriptomic profiling study was performed to investigate the molecular mechanism of DiYu on the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway.


TGG significantly inhibited the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway, down-regulated the expression of β-catenin and Wnt target genes (Dkk1, c-Myc, FGF20, NKD1, Survivin), up-regulated the levels of cleaved caspase3, cleaved PARP and ratio of Bax/Bcl-2, which may explain the apoptosis of HT29.


Our study enhanced the discovery of the materials and elucidation of mechanisms that account for the anti-Wnt activity of natural inhibitor (DiYu) and identified the potential of TGG to be developed as anti-colorectal cancer drugs.


1,4,6-Tri-O-galloyl-β-d-glucopyranose; Apoptosis; Colorectal cancer; Sanguisorba officinalis; Transcriptomics; Wnt/β-catenin

Conflict of interest statement

Competing interestsThe authors declare that they have no competing interests.

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