Krill oil supplementation reduces the growth of CT-26 orthotopic tumours in Balb/c mice

Jayathilake, AG, Kadife, Elif, Kuol, Nyanbol ORCID: 0000-0002-8269-3757, Luwor, Rodney ORCID: 0000-0002-3020-4245, Nurgali, Kulmira ORCID: 0000-0002-2597-6929 and Su, Xiao ORCID: 0000-0001-8178-406X (2022) Krill oil supplementation reduces the growth of CT-26 orthotopic tumours in Balb/c mice. BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies, 22 (34). ISSN 2662-7671


Background: We have previously reported that the free fatty acid extract (FFAE) of krill oil (KO) significantly inhibits the proliferation and migration, and induces apoptosis of colorectal cancer (CRC) cells. This study aimed to investigate the in vivo efficacy of various doses of KO supplementation on the inhibition of CRC tumour growth, molecular markers of proliferation, angiogenesis, apoptosis, the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and its downstream molecular signalling. Methods: Male Balb/c mice were randomly divided into four groups with five in each group. The control (untreated) group received standard chow diet; and other three groups received KO supplementation at 5%, 10%, and 15% of their daily dietary intake respectively for three weeks before and after the orthotopic implantation of CT-26 CRC cells in their caecum. The expression of cell proliferation marker Ki-67 and angiogenesis marker CD-31 were assessed by immunohistochemistry. The expression of EGFR, phosphorylated EGFR (pEGFR), protein kinase B (AKT), pAKT, extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK1/2), pERK1/2, cleaved caspase-7, cleaved poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP), and DNA/RNA damage were determined by western blot. Results: KO supplementation reduced the CRC tumour growth in a dose-dependent manner; with 15% of KO being the most effective in reduction of tumour weight and volume (68.5% and 68.3% respectively, P < 0.001), inhibition of cell proliferation by 69.9% (P < 0.001) and microvessel density by 72.7% (P < 0.001). The suppressive effects of KO on EGFR and its downstream signalling, ERK1/2 and AKT, were consistent with our previous in vitro observations. Furthermore, KO exhibited pro-apoptotic effects on tumour cells as indicated by an increase in the expression of cleaved PARP by 3.9-fold and caspase-7 by 8.9-fold. Conclusions: This study has demonstrated that KO supplementation reduces CRC tumour growth by inhibiting cancer cell proliferation and blood vessel formation and inducing apoptosis of tumour cells. These anti-cancer effects are associated with the downregulation of the EGFR signalling pathway and activation of caspase-7, PARP cleavage, and DNA/RNA damage.

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Item type Article
DOI 10.1186/s12906-022-03521-4
Official URL
Subjects Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 3208 Medical physiology
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Health and Sport
Keywords CRC, colorectal cancer, krill oil supplement, CT-26, tumor growth
Citations in Scopus 0 - View on Scopus
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