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Open Access Research article

Abalone visceral extract inhibit tumor growth and metastasis by modulating Cox-2 levels and CD8+ T cell activity

Choong-Gu Lee1, Ho-Keun Kwon1, Jae Ha Ryu1, Sung Jin Kang1, Chang-Rok Im2, Jae II Kim1 and Sin-Hyeog Im1*

Author Affiliations

1 School of Life Sciences and Immune Synapse Research Center, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST), Gwangju 500-712, Republic of Korea

2 Global leader program, Bugil Academy, Cheonan, Chungchengnamdo 330-941, Republic of Korea

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2010, 10:60  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-10-60

Published: 20 October 2010

Abstract

Background

Abalone has long been used as a valuable food source in East Asian countries. Although the nutritional importance of abalone has been reported through in vitro and in vivo studies, there is little evidence about the potential anti-tumor effects of abalone visceral extract. The aim of the present study is to examine anti-tumor efficacy of abalone visceral extract and to elucidate its working mechanism.

Methods

In the present study, we used breast cancer model using BALB/c mouse-derived 4T1 mammary carcinoma and investigated the effect of abalone visceral extract on tumor development. Inhibitory effect against tumor metastasis was assessed by histopathology of lungs. Cox-2 productions by primary and secondary tumor were measured by real-time RT-PCR and immunoblotting (IB). Proliferation assay based on [3H]-thymidine incorporation and measurement of cytokines and effector molecules by RT-PCR were used to confirm tumor suppression efficacy of abalone visceral extract by modulating cytolytic CD8+ T cells. The cytotoxicity of CD8+ T cell was compared by JAM test.

Results

Oral administration of abalone visceral extract reduced tumor growth (tumor volume and weight) and showed reduced metastasis as confirmed by decreased level of splenomegaly (spleen size and weight) and histological analysis of the lung metastasis (gross analysis and histological staining). Reduced expression of Cox-2 (mRNA and protein) from primary tumor and metastasized lung was also detected. In addition, treatment of abalone visceral extract increased anti-tumor activities of CD8+ T cells by increasing the proliferation capacity and their cytolytic activity.

Conclusions

Our results suggest that abalone visceral extract has anti-tumor effects by suppressing tumor growth and lung metastasis through decreasing Cox-2 expression level as well as promoting proliferation and cytolytic function of CD8+ T cells.