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Keywords:

  • Yerba mate;
  • mate saponins;
  • colon cancer;
  • inflammation;
  • NF-κB signaling

Yerba mate tea (YMT) has a chemopreventive role in a variety of inflammatory diseases. The objective was to determine the capability of YMT and mate saponins to prevent azoxymethane (AOM)-induced colonic inflammation in rats. YMT (2% dry leaves, w/v, as a source of drinking fluid) (n = 15) and mate saponins (0.01% in the diet, at a concentration present in one cup of YMT) (n = 15) were given ad libitum to rats 2 weeks prior to AOM-injection until the end of the study; while control rats (n = 15) received a basal diet and drinking water. After 8-weeks of study, total colonic mucosa was scraped (n = 3 rats/group) and the remaining colons (n =12 rats/group) were cut into three equal sections and aberrant crypt foci (ACF) were analyzed. YMT reduced ACF formation from 113 (control group) to 89 (P < 0.05). YMT and mate saponins reduced the expression of proinflammatory molecules COX-2 and iNOS with concomitant reduction in p-p65 (P < 0.05). Immunohistochemical analysis of the formalin-fixed middle colons showed that YMT and mate saponins reduced the expression of p-p65ser311 by 45.7% and 43.1%, respectively, in comparison to the control (P < 0.05). In addition, the expression of molecules upstream of NF-κB such as p-IκB-α and p-GSK-3βY216 was downregulated by YMT 24.7% and 24.4%, respectively (P < 0.05). Results suggest the mechanism involved in the chemopreventive effect of YMT and mate saponin consumption in AOM induced-colonic inflammation in rats is through inhibition of NF-κB. © 2013 BioFactors, 39(4):430–440, 2013