Prevention of N-Methylnitrosourea-Induced Colon Carcinogenesis in Rats by Oxygenated Carotenoid Capsanthin and Capsanthin-Rich Paprika Juice


  • This work was supported by the Research Fund of Akita University College of Allied Medical Sciences.


Abstract. Epidemiological and animal studies have provided evidence that dietary carotenoids may reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. An inhibitory activity of oxygenated carotenoid capsanthin, a potent antioxidant, and paprika juice rich in capsanthin (3.54 mg/100 ml) against colon carcinogenesis was investigated in F344 rats. In Experiment I (short-term assay), six rats each were given a gavage of 5 mg, 0.2 mg, or 0.008 mg capsanthin six times a week for Weeks 2–6 after receiving three intrarectal doses of 4 mg N-methylnitrosourea in Week 1. The number of colonic aberrant crypt foci, preneoplastic lesions, at Week 6 was significantly fewer (by 42%) in the 0.2 mg capsanthin group, but not in other groups, than the control group. In Experiment II (long-term assay), five groups of 30 or 25 rats each received an intrarectal dose of 2 mg N-methylnitrosourea three times a week for Weeks 1–3, and had either of 10 p.p.m. or 2 p.p.m. capsanthin solutions, 1:2.5 and 1:16.7 diluted solution of paprika juice (containing 10 p.p.m. or 2 p.p.m. capsanthin), and tap water (control fluid) as drinking fluid throughout the experiment. The experimental groups were fed 0.2 mg or 0.04 mg capsanthin/day/rat. The colon cancer incidence at Week 30 was significantly lower in the highly diluted paprika juice group (40%), but not in the moderately diluted paprika juice group (60%) and the capsanthin solution groups (68% and 68%) than the control group (83%). The results suggested that paprika juice may affect colon carcinogenesis. However, capsanthin alone failed to inhibit colon tumorigenesis, in spite of suppression of aberrant crypt foci formation in the short-term assay. Further studies are needed to explain this discrepancy.