A new study has highlighted new health benefits of berries. Rich in anthocyanins, they could be used in the development of anti-cancer treatments.
The natural pigments of berries, also known as anthocyanins, would increase the function of the sirtuin 6 enzyme in cancer cells. The regulation of this enzyme could open new avenues for the treatment of cancer, according to the results of a study published in the scientific journal Scientific Report.
Sirtuins are enzymes (SIRT6) that regulate the expression of genes that control cell function. Aging causes changes in the function of sirtuin, and these modidications contribute to the development of various diseases.
The berries get their color red, blue or purple thanks to their natural pigments, anthocyanins.
Researchers at the University of Eastern Finland have designed a computer model that has allowed them to predict how different flavonoid compounds in plants can regulate the enzyme SIRT6.
The results of their research indicate that berry anthocyanins increase the activation of the enzyme SIRT6, which may play a role in triggering cancer.
If anthocyanins present in berries can activate the SIRT6 function, they could also reduce the expression of cancer genes and the growth of cancer cells. As a result, researchers are working on new compounds targeting the regulation of this enzyme.
Cyanidin, present in wild blueberry, blackcurrant and lingonberry, would increase SIRT6 enzyme levels in human colorectal cancer cells and decrease cancer gene expression Twist1 and GLUT1, while increasing the expression of the suppressor gene FoXO3 in the cells.
“The most interesting results of our study concern cyanidin, which is an abundant anthocyanin in wild blueberry, blackcurrant and blueberry,” says Minna Rahnasto-Rilla, doctor of pharmacy, the lead author of the article.