Ellagitannins from pomegranate ameliorates 5-fluorouracil-induced intestinal mucositis in rats while enhancing its chemotoxicity against HT-29 colorectal cancer cells through intrinsic apoptosis induction.
J Agric Food Chem. 2018 Jun 19. Epub 2018 Jun 19. PMID: 29920075
Worldwide, colorectal cancer (CRC) is a deleterious disease causing millions of death annually. 5-Fluorouracil (5-FU) is a first-line chemotherapy for CRC, but chemoresistance and gastrointestinal mucositis limit its efficacy. Polyphenol-rich foods are increasingly popular due to their potential beneficial role in cancer. Ellagitannins is a group of phenolic compounds commonly found in pomegranate, strawberries, raspberries, etc. The objective of this study was to explore whether ellagitannins from pomegranate (PETs) could ameliorate 5-FU-induced intestinal mucositis and enhance its efficacy against CRC. The results showed that PETs (100 mg/kg) counteracted 5-FU-induced intestinal mucositis in rats. The number of apoptotic cells per crypt was reduced from 1.50±0.21 to 0.85±0.18 (P<0.05). Moreover, PETs induced HT-29 CRC cell death through intrinsic apoptosis as demonstrated by dissipation of mitochondrial membrane potential, increased Bax to Bcl-2 ratio, and cleavage of caspase 9 and caspase 3. PETs and 5-FU combination treatments exhibited synergistic cytotoxicity against HT-29 cells with a weighted combination index of 0.3494. PETs (80µg/mL) and 5-FU (40 µg/mL) treatments for 48 h induced 14.03±0.76% and 16.42±1.15% of HT-29 cells to undergo apoptosis while the combination treatment further increased apoptosis cells to 34.00±1.54% (P<0.05). Combination treatment of the cells also enhanced S phase cell cycle arrest as compared with PETs or 5-FU monotherapy (P<0.05). These results suggest that dietary ellagitannins from pomegranate could alleviate intestinal mucositis in rats induced by 5-FU while enhancing its toxicity against HT-29 cells through potentiation of apoptosis and cell cycle arrest.