Journal of Medicinal Food 7, 13-8

Kawaii, S., Lansky, E.P 2004. Differentiation-promoting activity of pomegranate (Punica granatum) fruit extracts in HL-60 human promyelocytic leukemia cells. Journal of Medicinal Food 7, 13-8.

Differentiation refers to the ability of cancer cells to revert to their normal counterparts, and its induction represents an important noncytotoxic therapy for leukemia, and also breast, prostate, and other solid malignancies. Flavonoids are a group of differentiation-inducing chemicals with a potentially lower toxicology profile than retinoids. Flavonoid-rich polyphenol fractions from the pomegranate (Punica granatum) fruit exert anti-proliferative, anti-invasive, anti-eicosanoid, and pro-apoptotic actions in breast and prostate cancer cells and anti-angiogenic activities in vitro and in vivo. Here we tested flavonoid-rich fractions from fresh (J) and fermented (W) pomegranate juice and from an aqueous extraction of pomegranate pericarps (P) as potential differentiation-promoting agents of human HL-60 promyelocytic leukemia cells. Four assays were used to assess differentiation: nitro blue tetrazolium reducing activity, nonspecific esterase activity, specific esterase activity, and phagocytic activity. In addition, the effect of these extracts on HL-60 proliferation was evaluated. Extracts W and P were strong promoters of differentiation in all settings, with extract J showing only a relatively mild differentiation-promoting effect. The extracts had proportional inhibitory effects on HL-60 cell proliferation. The results highlight an important, previously unknown, mechanism of the cancer preventive and suppressive potential of pomegranate fermented juice and pericarp extracts.

PMID: 15117547 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE