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Modified sugar beet pectin induces apoptosis of colon cancer cells via an interaction with the neutral sugar side-chains

Ellen G. Maxwell, Ian J. Colquhoun, Hoa K. Chau, Arland T. Hotchkiss, Keith W. Waldron, Victor J. Morris, Nigel J. Belshaw
Carbohydrate polymers 2016 v.136 pp. 923-929
Beta vulgaris, Citrus, alkali treatment, antineoplastic activity, apoptosis, arabinose, carbohydrate structure, cell viability, colorectal neoplasms, esterification, galactose, heat treatment, neoplasm cells, pH, pectins, plant extracts, structure-activity relationships, sugar beet, sugar beet pulp
Pectins extracted from a variety of sources and modified with heat and/or pH have previously been shown to exhibit activity towards several cancer cell lines. However, the structural basis for the anti-cancer activity of modified pectin requires clarification. Sugar beet and citrus pectin extracts have been compared. Pectin extracted from sugar beet pulp only weakly affected the viability of colon cancer cells. Alkali treatment increased the anti-cancer effect of sugar beet pectin via an induction of apoptosis. Alkali treatment decreased the degree of esterification (DE) and increased the ratio of rhamnogalacturonan I (RGI) to homogalacturonan. Low DE per se did not play a significant role in the anti-cancer activity. However, the enzymatic removal of galactose and, to a lesser extent, arabinose from the pectin decreased the effect on cancer cells indicating that the neutral sugar-containing RGI regions are important for pectin bioactivity.