Charles T. Harris—Honors in Biology
Preparation of Pomegranate Fruit Extract and its Effects on the Expression of Cyclooxygenase-2 and Prostaglandin E2 in Cultured Human Melanoma Cells. Chemoprevention, the inhibition of carcinogenesis, is currently a popular strategy in the development of new cancer therapies. Plant compounds with high anti-oxidant activity are a main source of chemopreventive lead compounds. Anthocyanins are a main source of the antioxidant activity of pomegranates. These compounds should therefore contain anti-tumor properties as well. Anthocyanins in pomegranates are concentrated into a form called Pomegranate Fruit Extract (PFE), which is said to inhibit carcinogenesis by blocking production of several molecules overexpressed in cancer cells: Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), Ornithine decarboxylase, Nuclear Factor – Kappa Beta, and the Mitogen-Activated Protein kinase pathways. PFE is a concentrated form of the most polar molecules found in pomegranate juice; it is made by dissolving the juice in aqueous acetone, then separating out the molecules that are more soluble in acetone than water. Cultures of human melanoma cells received treatments of varying concentrations of PFE; COX-2 and Prostaglandin E2 ELISAs were performed on the cells after treatment. Both ELISAs showed that as concentrations of PFE in the treatments increased, the level of cytoplasmic COX-2 and secreted PGE2 decreased.