AIM: To investigate the effect of extracted soybean saponins on the growth of human colon cancer cells. METHODS: WiDr human colon cancer cells were treated with 150, 300, 600 or 1200 ppm of soy saponin to determine the effect on cell growth, cell morphology, alkaline phosphatase (AP) and protein kinase C (PKC) activities, and P53 protein, c-Fos and c-Jun gene expression. RESULTS: Soy saponin decreased the number of viable cells in a dose-dependent manner and suppressed 12-Otetradecanol- phorbol-13-acetate-stimulated PKC activity (P <0.05). Cells treated with saponins developed cytoplasmic vesicles and the cell membrane became rougher and more irregular in a dose-dependent manner, and eventually disassembled. At 600 and 1200 ppm, the activity of AP was increased (P <0.05). However, the apoptosis markers such as c-Jun and c-Fos were not significantly affected by saponin. CONCLUSION: Soy saponin may be effective in preventing colon cancer by affecting cell morphology, cell proliferation enzymes, and cell growth.
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