Tetrahydrocurcumin is more effective than curcumin in preventing azoxymethane-induced colon carcinogenesis

Ching Shu Lai, Jia Ching Wu, Shih Feng Yu, Vladimir Badmaev, Kalyanam Nagabhushanam, Chi Tang Ho, Min Hsiung Pan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Scope: Tetrahydrocurcumin (THC), a major metabolite of curcumin (CUR), has been demonstrated to be anti-cancerogenic and anti-angiogenic and prevents type II diabetes. In this present study, we investigated the chemopreventive effects and underlying molecular mechanisms of dietary administration of CUR and THC in azoxymethane (AOM)-induced colon carcinogenesis in mice. Methods and results: All mice were sacrificed at 6 and 23wk, and colonic tissue was collected and examined. We found that dietary administration of both CUR and THC could reduce aberrant crypt foci and polyps formation, while THC showed a better inhibitory effect than CUR. At the molecular level, results from Western blot analysis and immunohistochemistry staining showed that dietary CUR and THC exhibited anti-inflammatory activity by decreasing the levels of inducible NOS and COX-2 through downregulation of ERK1/2 activation. In addition, both dietary CUR and THC significantly decreased AOM-induced Wnt-1 and β-catenin protein expression, as well as the phosphorylation of GSK-3β in colonic tissue. Moreover, dietary feeding with CUR and THC markedly reduced the protein level of connexin-43, an important molecule of gap junctions, indicating that both CUR and THC might interfer with the intercellular communication of crypt cells. Conclusion: Taken together, these results demonstrated for the first time the in vivo chemopreventive efficacy and molecular mechanisms of dietary THC against AOM-induced colonic tumorigenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1819-1828
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Nutrition and Food Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science


  • Aberrant crypt foci
  • Anti-inflammation
  • Azoxymethane
  • Curcumin
  • Tetrahydrocurcumin

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