There is increasing interest in the potential benefits of using phenolic compounds in plants to inhibit the development and progression of colorectal cancer, one of the cancers with the highest mortality rates worldwide.
Ginnalin A is a gallotannin present in various teas and had been reported to have potential anticancer activity against colon cancer cell HCT116 (1) with marked selectivity towards colon cancer cells over ordinary colon cells (1). Wu Bi and co-workers (2) have investigated the molecular mechanisms of this activity.
They extracted the leaves of Acer tataricum subsp. Ginnala in 80% aqueous ethanol to give an extract that was filtered and concentrated under reduced pressure before successive partitions with petroleum ether, chloroform, ethyl acetate and n-butanol. A part of the n-butanol extract was concentrated on a HW-40c column and eluted with a step-wise gradient of water-methanol to yield 5 fractions.
Ginnalin A was obtained from fraction 2 by repeated Sephadex LH-20 chromatography, eluted with water-methanol and identified by NMR and mass spectra. The ultra-pure water used for the preparation of reagents and eluents was produced by an ELGA PURELAB Ultra as was the water used in subsequent inhibition studies.
The authors demonstrated for the first time that ginnalin A exerted a colon cancer chemopreventive effect via the activation of the Nrf2 signalling pathway.
The mechanism was found to result from the inhibition of Keap-1 expression and the up-regulation of p62 expression. Ginnalin A shows considerable promise as a chemopreventive agent in colorectal cancer.
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1) A. Gonzalez-sarrias, H. Ma, M.E. Edmonds and N.P.Seeram, Maple polyphenols, ginnalins A-C, induce S- and G2/M-cell cycle arrest in colon and breast cancer cells mediated by decreasing cyclins A and d1 levels, Food Chem., 2013, 136, 636-42.
2) Wu Bi, Chun-nian He, Xiao-xiao Li, Liu-ying Zhou, Rui-jie Liu, Sai Zhang, Guo-qing Li, Zhu-chu Chen and Peng-fei Zhang, Ginnalin A from Kujin Tea
(Acer tataricum subsp. Ginnala) exhibits a colorectal cancer chemoprevention effect via activation of the Nrf2/HO-1 signalling pathway,
Food Funct. 2018, 9, 2809-2819.
Dr Paul Whitehead
After a BA in Chemistry at Oxford University, Paul focused his career on industrial applications of chemistry. He was awarded a PhD at Imperial College, London for developing a microwave-induced-plasma detector for gas chromatography. He spent the first half of his career managing the analytical support team at the Johnson Matthey Research/Technology Centre,specialising in the determination of precious metals and characterising applications such as car-exhaust catalysts and fuel cells. Subsequently, as Laboratory Manager in R&D for ELGA LabWater, he has been involved in introducing and developing the latest water purification technologies. He now acts as a consultant for ELGA.