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New publication: Theabrownin Alleviates Colorectal Tumorigenesis in Murine AOM/DSS Model



Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the most common and fatal cancers worldwide, yet therapeutic options for CRC often exhibit strong side effects which cause patients’ well-being to deteriorate. Theabrownin (TB), an antioxidant from Pu-erh tea, has previously been reported to have antitumor effects on non-small-cell lung cancer, osteosarcoma, hepatocellular carcinoma, gliomas, and melanoma. However, the potential antitumor effect of TB on CRC has not previously been investigated in vivo. The present study therefore aimed to investigate the antitumor effect of TB on CRC and the underlying mechanisms. Azoxymethane (AOM)/dextran sodium sulphate (DSS) was used to establish CRC tumorigenesis in a wild type mice model. TB was found to significantly reduce the total tumor count and improve crypt length and fibrosis of the colon when compared to the AOM/DSS group. Immunohistochemistry staining shows that the expression of the proliferation marker, Ki67 was reduced, while cleaved caspase 3 was increased in the TB group. Furthermore, TB significantly reduced phosphorylation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K), protein kinase B (Akt), and the downstream mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR)and cyclin D1 protein expression, which might contribute to cell proliferation suppression and apoptosis enhancement. The 16s rRNA sequencing revealed that TB significantly modulated the gut microbiota composition in AOM/DSS mice. TB increased the abundance of short chain fatty acid as well as SCFA-producing Prevotellaceae and Alloprevotella, and it decreased CRC-related Bacteroidceae and Bacteroides. Taken together, our results suggest that TB could inhibit tumor formation and potentially be a promising candidate for CRC treatment.


Theabrownin was found to suppress tumor cell proliferation while promoting apoptosis, through its suppression on the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway. In addition, TB was found to modify gut microbiota composition. SCFA-producing Prevotellaceae family and Alloprevotella genus, as well as immunity strengthening and anti-inflammatory Romboutsia genus, were significantly upregulated, while pathogenic Bacteroides genus were reduced in TB group.
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