Extracts of hop strobiles, the female parts of Humulus lupulus L., are popular botanical dietary supplements as alternative treatment for menopausal symptoms (1). Cancer preventive properties of hops, which are in part mediated through the induction of detoxification enzymes, have frequently been reported (2). This effect has been mainly attributed to one of its major constituents, xanthohumol (XN) (3). However, the chemopreventive effects have so far only been demonstrated in vitro and have not been confirmed in vivo. Therefore, we conducted an in vivo study in adult female rats and analyzed the effect of oral administration of a standardized hop extract (7.5 g extract/kg BW per day, containing 2% XN) or s.c. injection of XN (20 mg/day) on detoxification enzymes, such as NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1) and glutathione-S-transferase (GST). Analysis of various tissues revealed that while pure XN and oral hops significantly induced NQO1 activity in liver and colon tissue, only oral hops and not pure xanthohumol induced NQO1 activity in the uterus. Interestingly, hops but not xanthohumol significantly induced GST activity in the liver and mammary gland suggesting that other hop constituents and/or an additional mechanism might be responsible for these effects. Transcription of many detoxification enzymes is regulated through the antioxidant response element (ARE) and its transcription factor Nrf2, which is repressed under basal conditions by Keap1 (4). It has been shown that XN alkylates Keap1 and therefore enhances the concentration of free Nrf2 in the nucleus which results in ARE activation (5). Another pathway leading to ARE activation is mediated by protein kinase C (PKC) that phosphorylates Nrf2 leading to accumulation of Nrf2 in the nucleus (6). To investigate whether this pathway is involved in the observations described above, additional experiments with HepG2-ARE-luciferase C8 cells were performed. The cells were treated with hop extract or XN with or without the selective PKC inhbitor, Ro-32-0432, and the ARE-luciferase induction was determined. The results revealed that hops- but not XN-regulated ARE induction is in part mediated by PKC. Possible active compounds are under investigation. These results suggest that hop dietary supplements have the potential as preventive agents against cancer through induction of detoxifying enzymes.
Citation Information: Cancer Prev Res 2008;1(7 Suppl):A43.
Seventh AACR International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research-- Nov 16-19, 2008; Washington, DC