Cocoa tea (Camellia ptilophylla), a natural gallocatechin gallate (GCG)-rich and low caffeine-containing tea species, has been recently reported to possess various bioactivities. However, the anti-colon cancer effects of Cocoa tea and its underlying mechanisms remain virtually unknown. This study aimed to assess the anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic effects of water extract of Cocoa tea (CWE) on human colon cancer HCT116 cells compared with Yunnan Daye tea (YWE). Primarily, CWE showed stronger anti-proliferation and apoptosis induction than YWE. Moreover, reduction of mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP), up-regulation of Bax/Bcl-2 ratio, release of cytochrome c, activation of caspase-9 and -3, and cleavage of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) were observed, suggesting that mitochondrial apoptotic pathway was activated by CWE. Furthermore, CWE-induced apoptosis in HCT116 cells was dependent on the generation of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) and down-regulation of phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt pathway. Pretreatment with ROS scavenger N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) attenuated the impact of CWE on mitochondria-related apoptosis proteins, and partially recovered the inhibition of Akt phosphorylation. These results indicated that ROS generation mediated mitochondrial dysfunction and inactivation of PI3K/Akt pathway in CWE-induced HCT116 cell apoptosis. Additionally, CWE significantly inhibited tumor growth in HCT116 tumor-bearing mice, suggesting that Cocoa tea could act as a potential functional beverage to prevent or treat colorectal cancer.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Cocoa tea
- Colon cancer
- HCT116 cells