J Cancer 2019; 10(26):6557-6569. doi:10.7150/jca.34637

Research Paper

The synergic inhibitory effects of dark tea (Camellia sinensis) extract and p38 inhibition on the growth of pancreatic cancer cells

Ke Zheng1, Qin Zhao1, Qing Chen2, Weiqun Xiao2, Yuedeng Jiang2, Yuhui Jiang1✉

1. The Institute of Cell Metabolism and Disease, Shanghai Key Laboratory of Pancreatic diseases, Shanghai General Hospital, School of Medicine, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai, 200080, P.R.China.
2. The office of Anhua Tea Industry and Tea Culture Development Leading Group, Hunan, 413500, P.R.China.

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Zheng K, Zhao Q, Chen Q, Xiao W, Jiang Y, Jiang Y. The synergic inhibitory effects of dark tea (Camellia sinensis) extract and p38 inhibition on the growth of pancreatic cancer cells. J Cancer 2019; 10(26):6557-6569. doi:10.7150/jca.34637. Available from http://www.jcancer.org/v10p6557.htm

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Background: Dark tea is one of the most popular types of Chinese tea, which has been reported to exhibit anti-obesity, anti-oxidation and antitumor activities in according human cell lines. In terms of tumorigenesis, the systemic study of the physiological effect of specific fraction of dark tea and the relevant molecular mechanism warrant more attention.

Methods: Dark tea was firstly isolated through solvent extraction method. Dissolved ethyl acetate extract was further fractioned by elution with various concentration of ethyl alcohol. The cytotoxicity effect of dark tea on cell proliferation was evaluated by CCK8 assay in HPDE human normal pancreatic duct epithelial cells, SW1990 and PANC-1 human pancreatic cancer cells, and SW1116 human colorectal cancer cells. Immunoblotting and flow cytometry analysis were utilized to examine the status of protein and reactive oxygen species respectively. Gene expression profile was analyzed by cDNA microarray and real-time PCR. The plasmid for ID1 expression was stably transfected into SW1990 cells for relevant functional analysis. The effect of dark tea extract on tumorigenesis in vivo was studied in xenograft tumor model.

Results: Water eluate fraction of the ethyl acetate extract from dark tea inhibited the growth of SW1990, PANC-1 and SW1116 cells more efficiently compared with that in HPDE cells. Meanwhile, p38 activity was increased and AKT activity was dropped in cancer cells with dark tea extract treatment. Further functional analyses indicated that water eluate fraction and p38 inhibitor treatment exerted a synergic inhibitory effect on cancer cells growth, which was related to their suppressive effect on expression level of ID1 (inhibitor of differentiation protein 1), which was highly expressed in cancer cells. The analysis utilizing xenograft tumor model further indicated water eluate fraction exhibited a significantly inhibitory effect on tumorigenesis.

Conclusion: Based on the sequential extraction procedure, our results reveal the inhibitory effect of water eluate fraction of the ethyl acetate extract from dark tea and its synergistic effect with p38 inhibition on the growth of pancreatic cancer cells, in which ID1 is identified as a downstream effector. This sheds insights into the physiological relevance of specific fraction of dark tea to tumorigenesis in pancreatic cancer.

Keywords: Dark tea, water eluate, pancreatic cancer, p38 inhibition, ID1.