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Open Access Research article

Induction of G1 and G2/M cell cycle arrests by the dietary compound 3,3'-diindolylmethane in HT-29 human colon cancer cells

Hyun Ju Choi, Do Young Lim and Jung Han Yoon Park*

Author Affiliations

Department of Food Science and Nutrition, Hallym University, Chuncheon, 200-702, Republic of Korea

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BMC Gastroenterology 2009, 9:39  doi:10.1186/1471-230X-9-39

Published: 29 May 2009

Abstract

Background

3,3'-Diindolylmethane (DIM), an indole derivative produced in the stomach after the consumption of broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, has been demonstrated to exert anti-cancer effects in both in vivo and in vitro models. We have previously determined that DIM (0 – 30 μmol/L) inhibited the growth of HT-29 human colon cancer cells in a concentration-dependent fashion. In this study, we evaluated the effects of DIM on cell cycle progression in HT-29 cells.

Methods

HT-29 cells were cultured with various concentrations of DIM (0 – 30 μmol/L) and the DNA was stained with propidium iodide, followed by flow cytometric analysis. [3H]Thymidine incorporation assays, Western blot analyses, immunoprecipitation and in vitro kinase assays for cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) and cell division cycle (CDC)2 were conducted.

Results

The percentages of cells in the G1 and G2/M phases were dose-dependently increased and the percentages of cells in S phase were reduced within 12 h in DIM-treated cells. DIM also reduced DNA synthesis in a dose-dependent fashion. DIM markedly reduced CDK2 activity and the levels of phosphorylated retinoblastoma proteins (Rb) and E2F-1, and also increased the levels of hypophosphorylated Rb. DIM reduced the protein levels of cyclin A, D1, and CDK4. DIM also increased the protein levels of CDK inhibitors, p21CIP1/WAF1 and p27KIPI. In addition, DIM reduced the activity of CDC2 and the levels of CDC25C phosphatase and cyclin B1.

Conclusion

Here, we have demonstrated that DIM induces G1 and G2/M phase cell cycle arrest in HT-29 cells, and this effect may be mediated by reduced CDK activity.