Open Access Research article

Amelioration of azoxymethane induced-carcinogenesis by reducing oxidative stress in rat colon by natural extracts

Mostafa I Waly1, Amani S Al-Rawahi1, Marwa Al Riyami2, Mohamed A Al-Kindi2, Halima K Al-Issaei2, Sardar A Farooq3, Ahmed Al-Alawi1 and Mohammad S Rahman1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Food Science and Nutrition, College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, P. O. Box 34–123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

2 Pathology Department, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, P. O. Box 34–123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

3 Department of Biology, College of Science, Sultan Qaboos University, P. O. Box 34–123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2014, 14:60  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-60

Published: 18 February 2014



Azoxymethane (AOM) is a potent carcinogenic agent commonly used to induce colon cancer in rats; the cytotoxicity of AOM is considered to mediate oxidative stress. This study investigated the chemopreventive effect of three natural extracts [pomegranate peel extract (PomPE), papaya peel extract (PapPE) and seaweed extract (SE)] against AOM-induced oxidative stress and carcinogenesis in rat colon.


Eighty Sprague–Dawley rats (aged 4 weeks) were randomly divided into 8 groups (10 rats/group). Control group was fed a basal diet; AOM-treated group was fed a basal diet and received AOM intraperitonial injections for two weeks at a dose of 15 mg/kg bodyweight, whereas the other six groups were received oral supplementation of PomPE, PapPE or SE, in the presence or absence of AOM injection. All animals were continuously fed ad-libitum until aged 16 weeks, then all rats were sacrificed and the colon tissues were examined microscopically for pathological changes and aberrant crypt foci (ACF) development, genotoxicity (induced micronuclei (MN) cells enumeration), and glutathione and lipid peroxidation.


Our results showed that AOM-induced ACF development and pathological changes in the colonic mucosal tissues, increased bone marrow MN cells and oxidative stress (glutathione depletion, lipid peroxidation) in rat colonic cells. The concomitant treatment of AOM with PomPE, PapPE or SE significantly ameliorated the cytotoxic effects of AOM.


The results of this study provide in-vivo evidence that PomPE, PapPE and SE reduced the AOM-induced colon cancer in rats, through their potent anti-oxidant activities.

Azoxymethane; Oxidative stress; Colon cancer