A pomegranate emulsion (PE), containing various bioactive phytochemicals, has recently been found to exert substantial chemopreventive effect against 7,12-dimethylbenz(a
)anthracene (DMBA)-induced mammary tumorigenesis in rats via antiproliferative and proapoptotic actions. Nevertheless, the underlying mechanisms of action are not completely understood. The present study was designed to investigate the effects of PE treatment on intratumor expression of estrogen receptor (ER)-α, ER-β,β-catenin and cyclin D1 during DMBA rat mammary carcinogenesis. Mammary tumor sections were harvested from a chemopreventive study in which PE (0.2, 1.0 and 5.0 g/kg) exhibited inhibition of mammary tumorigenesis in a dose-response manner. The expressions of ER-α, ER-β, β-catenin and cyclin D1 were analyzed by immunohistochemical techniques. PE downregulated the expression of intratumor ER-α and ER-β and lowered ER-α:ER-β ratio. PE also decreased the expression, cytoplasmic accumulation, and nuclear translocation of β-catenin, an essential transcriptional cofactor for Wnt signaling. Moreover, PE suppressed the expression of cell growth regulatory protein cyclin D1, which is a downstream target for both ER and Wnt signaling. Our current results in conjunction with our previous findings indicate that concurrent disruption of ER and Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathways possibly contributes to antiproliferative and proapoptotic effects involved in PE-mediated chemoprevention of DMBA-inflicted rat mammary tumorigenesis.
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