Journal of physiology and biochemistry

Antiatherogenic and antitumoral properties of Opuntia cladodes: inhibition of low density lipoprotein oxidation by vascular cells, and protection against the cytotoxicity of lipid oxidation product 4-hydroxynonenal in a colorectal cancer cellular model.

PMID 25840808


Opuntia species have been used for thousands of years as a folk medicine in the treatment of diseases. However, the components and protective mechanisms are still unclear. We make the hypothesis that Opuntia species may protect the development of oxidative stress-associated diseases, such as atherosclerosis or colon cancer, via their antioxidant properties. We investigated the protective effect of Opuntia cladode powder against the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) evoked by vascular endothelial cells, an important risk factor for atherosclerosis development, and the toxicity of 4-hydroxynonenal (a major lipid peroxidation product) on normal (Apc +/+) and preneoplastic (Apc min/+) immortalized epithelial colon cells. Various Opuntia species classified according to their degree of domestication, from the wildest (Opuntia streptacantha, Opuntia hyptiacantha, Opuntia megacantha), medium (Opuntia albicarpa), to the most domesticated (Opuntia ficus-indica) were tested. Cladode powders prepared from these Opuntia species significantly inhibited LDL oxidation induced by incubation with murine endothelial cells and the subsequent foam cell formation of RAW 264.7 murine macrophages and cytotoxicity on murine endothelial cells. Moreover, Opuntia cladode powder blocked the promotion of colon cancer development on an in vitro model of colonocytes. It may be noted that the phenolic acid and flavonoids content, the antioxidant capacity, and the protective effect were relatively similar in all the cladode powders from wild (O. streptacantha) and domesticated Opuntia. Altogether, these data confirm the therapeutic potential of Opuntia cladodes in diseases associated with oxidative stress.

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chromane-2-carboxylic acid, AldrichCPR