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The anthocyanin metabolites gallic acid, 3-O-methylgallic acid, and 2,4,6-trihydroxybenzaldehyde decrease human colon cancer cell viability by regulating pro-oncogenic signals



Anthocyanins are a class of polyphenols abundant in the skins of red grapes, and have been shown to have anti-cancer effects in models of colon cancer [Cooke et al. Int J Cancer 2006;119:2213–2220; Jing et al. J Agric Food Chem 2008;56:9391–9398]. Gut microflora metabolize anthocyanins to phenolic acids and aldehydes. These metabolites may explain the relationship between anthocyanin consumption and reduced incidence of colorectal cancer (CRC). Previously, gallic acid (Gal), 3-O-methylgallic acid (Megal), and 2,4,6-trihydroxybenzaldehyde (THBA) were found to decrease Caco-2 cell viability to a larger extent than other anthocyanin metabolites. To better understand the potential anti-CRC action of these compounds, this paper investigated their capacity to modulate the cell cycle, and induce apoptotic cell death. Dividing Caco-2 cells were incubated for 24–72 h in the presence of 10–100 µM Gal, Megal, THBA, and malvidin-3-glucoside (M3g). THBA reduced cell viability only at 100 µM, while Gal and Megal (10–100 µM) caused a time- and dose-dependent decrease in cell viability. After 72 h incubation, the metabolites caused cell cycle arrest at G0/G1. The activation of the apoptotic pathway by Megal, Gal, and THBA was evidenced by the activation of caspase-3. However, only Megal and Gal caused DNA fragmentation and nuclear condensation. Megal, Gal, and THBA inhibited transcription factors NF-κB, AP-1, STAT-1, and OCT-1 which are known to be activated in CRC. In conclusion, the anti-cancer effects of Megal and Gal occurs as a consequence of both the inhibition of cell proliferation and induction of apoptosis. The inhibition of transcription factors that promote cell proliferation and survival can in part underlie the observed effects. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.