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Antioxidative effects of the spice cardamom against non-melanoma skin cancer by modulating nuclear factor erythroid-2-related factor 2 and NF-κB signalling pathways

  • Ila Das (a1), Asha Acharya (a2), Deborah L. Berry (a3), Supti Sen (a3), Elizabeth Williams (a3), Eva Permaul (a3), Archana Sengupta (a1), Sudin Bhattacharya (a1) and Tapas Saha (a3)...

The role of dietary factors in inhibiting or delaying the development of non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) has been investigated for many years. Cardamom, which is a dietary phytoproduct, has been commonly used in cuisines for flavour and has numerous health benefits, such as improving digestion and stimulating metabolism and having antitumorigenic effects. We have investigated the efficacy of dietary cardamom against 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA)-induced skin papillomatogenesis in Swiss albino mice that closely resembles human NMSC. Mice were grouped into normal wild type (untreated), vehicle-treated (acetone), carcinogen-treated (DMBA), and DMBA and cardamom-treated (DMBA+CARD) to delineate the role of cardamom against DMBA-induced papillomatogenesis. Oral administration of cardamom to DMBA-treated mice up-regulated the phase II detoxification enzymes, such as glutathione-S-transferase and glutathione peroxidase, probably via activation of nuclear factor erythroid-2-related factor 2 transcription factor in ‘DMBA+CARD’ mice. Furthermore, reduced glutathione, glutathione reductase, superoxide dismutase and catalase were also up-regulated by cardamom in the same ‘DMBA+CARD’ group of mice compared with DMBA-treated mice. Cardamom ingestion in DMBA-treated mice blocked NF-κB activation and down-regulated cyclo-oxygenase-2 expression. As a consequence, both the size and the number of skin papillomas generated on the skin due to the DMBA treatment were reduced in the ‘DMBA+CARD’ group. Thus, the results from the present study suggest that cardamom has a potential to become a pivotal chemopreventive agent to prevent papillomagenesis on the skin.

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*Corresponding author: Dr T. Saha, fax +1 202 687 5324, email;
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