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Plant flavonoid luteolin blocks cell signaling pathways in colon cancer cells

4 min read

30 Jan 2012

Luteolin is a flavonoid commonly found in fruit and vegetables. This compound has been shown in laboratory conditions to have anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-cancer properties but results from epidemiological studies have been less certain. New research published in BioMed Central’s open access journal BMC Gastroenterology shows that luteolin is able to inhibit the activity of cell signaling pathways (IGF and PI3K) important for the growth of cancer in colon cancer cells.

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Colon cancer is the second most frequent cause of cancer-related death in the Western World. Colon cancer cells have elevated levels of IGF-II compared to normal colon tissues. It is thought that this is part of the mechanism driving uncontrolled cell division and cancer growth. Researchers from Korea showed that luteolin was able to block the secretion of IGF-II by colon cancer cells and within two hours decreased the amount of receptor (IGF-IR) precursor protein. Luteolin also reduced the amount of active receptor (measured by IGF-I dependent phosphorylation).

Luteolin inhibited the growth stimulatory effect of IGF-I and the team led by Prof Jung Han Yoon Park found that luteolin affected cell signaling pathways which are activated by IGF-I in cancer. Prof Jung Han Yoon Park explained, “Luteolin reduced IGF-I-dependent activation of the cell signaling pathways PI3K, Akt, and ERK1/2 and CDC25c. Blocking these pathways stops cancer cells from dividing and leads to cell death.”

Prof Jung Park continued, “Our study, showing that luteolin interferes with cell signaling in colon cancer cells, is a step forward in understanding how this flavonoid works. A fuller understanding of the in vivo results is essential to determine how it might be developed into an effective chemopreventive agent.”

Enriched skimmed milk may curb frequency of gout flare-ups

A daily dose of skimmed milk, enriched with 2 components found in dairy products, may help to curb the frequency of painful gout flare-ups, indicates research published online in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases

A daily dose of skimmed milk, enriched with two components found in dairy products, may help to curb the frequency of painful gout flare-ups, indicates research published online in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

Previous long term research has shown that the risk of gout is greater among those whose diet is low on dairy products.

And experimental studies indicate that certain components of dairy products, particularly glycomacropeptide (GMP) and G600 milk fat extract (G600), seem to dampen down the inflammatory response to gout crystals.

The authors studied the frequency of gout flare-ups in 120 patients with the condition over a period of three months. All the patients had experienced at least two flare-ups in the preceding four months.

The patients were divided into three different treatment groups: lactose powder; skimmed milk powder; or skimmed milk powder enriched with GMP and G600. Each powder was mixed in 250 ml of water as a vanilla flavoured shake and drunk daily.

The patients attended a rheumatology clinic monthly to check on their requirement for medication and their symptoms, which they recorded using a daily flare diary and validated pain scale.

There were no significant differences among the three groups at the start of the study in terms of frequency of gout flare-ups, pain, or drugs used to treat the condition.

In all, 102 patients completed the three month study. And the results showed that those on the enriched skimmed milk diet had a significantly greater reduction in gout flare-ups compared with the other two groups.

They also had greater improvements in pain and the amount of uric acid in their urine than those in the other two groups. This was matched by a trend towards a reduction in the number of tender joints.

The enriched skimmed milk diet did not boost weight gain or increase the levels of potentially harmful blood fats.

“This is the first reported randomised controlled trial of dietary intervention in gout management, and suggests that daily intake of skimmed milk powder enriched with GMP and G600 may reduce the frequency of gout flares,” conclude the authors.

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