Background: Tussilagone, a major component of Tussilago farfara
L., has anti-angiogenic and anti-inflammatory effects. However, the therapeutic and preventive activity of tussilagone in colitis-associated colon carcinogenesis is unknown. Methods: We intended to investigate the therapeutic effects and the potential mechanism of action underlying the pharmacological activity of tussilagone on colitis-associated colon cancer induced in mice using azoxymethane (AOM)/dextran sulfate sodium (DSS). We injected BALB/c mice with AOM and administered 2% DSS in drinking water. The mice were given tussilagone (2.5 and 5 mg/kg body weight) and colon tissues was collected at 72 days. We used Western blotting, immunohistochemistry and real-time RT-PCR analyses to examine the tumorigenesis and inflammatory status of the colon. Results: Tussilagone administration significantly reduced the formation of colonic tumors. In addition, tussilagone treatment markedly reduced the inflammatory mediators and increased heme oxygease-1 in protein and mRNA levels in colon tissues. Meanwhile, nuclear NF-κB-positive cells were elevated and nuclear Nrf2-positive cells were demised by tussilagone treatment in colon tissues. Tussilagone also reduced cell proliferation, induced apoptosis and decreased the β-catenin expression. Conclusions: Tussilagone administration decreases the inflammation and proliferation induced by AOM/DSS and induced apoptosis in colon tissue. Overall, this study indicates the potential value of tussilagone in suppressing colon tumorigenesis.
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