The Journal of nutrition

Conjugated linoleic acid inhibits cell proliferation through a p53-dependent mechanism: effects on the expression of G1-restriction points in breast and colon cancer cells.

PMID 14608092


Previous reports have documented the antiproliferative properties of a mixture of conjugated isomers (CLA) of linoleic acid [LA (18:2)]. In this study, we investigated the mechanisms of CLA action on cell cycle progression in breast and colon cancer cells. Treatment with CLA inhibited cell proliferation in breast cancer MCF-7 cells containing wild-type p53 (p53(+/+)). At cytostatic concentrations, CLA elicited cell cycle arrest in G1 and induced the accumulation of the tumor suppressors p53, p27 and p21 protein. Conversely, CLA reduced the expression of factors required for G1 to S-phase transition including cyclins D1 and E, and hyperphoshorylated retinoblastoma Rb protein. In contrast, the overexpression of mutant p53 (175Arg to His) in MFC-7 cells prevented the CLA-dependent accumulation of p21 and the reduction of cyclin E levels suggesting that the expression of wild-type p53 is required for CLA-mediated activation of the G1 restriction point. To further elucidate the role of p53, the effects of CLA in colon cancer HCT116 cells (p53(+/+)) and p53-deficient (p53(-/-)) HCT116 cells (HCTKO) were examined. The treatment of HCT116 cells with CLA increased the levels of p53, p21, p27 and hypophosphorylated (pRb) protein and reduced the expression of cyclin E, whereas these effects were not seen in p53-deficient HCTKO cells. The t10,c12-CLA isomer was more effective than c9,t11-CLA in inhibiting cell proliferation of MCF-7 breast cancer cells and enhancing the accumulation of p53 and pRb. We conclude that the antiproliferative properties of CLA appear to be a function, at least in part, of the relative content of specific isomers and their ability to elicit a p53 response that leads to the accumulation of pRb and cell growth arrest.

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Linoleic acid, conjugated