Dehydrodiisoeugenol (DEH), a novel lignan component extracted from the Nutmeg seeds, displays noticeable anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic effects in digestive system diseases. However, the mechanism of its anti-cancer activity in gastrointestinal cancer is still to be investigated. Here, the anti-cancer effect of DEH to human colorectal cancer and its underlying mechanism were evaluated. The DEH treatment arrests the cell cycle of colorectal cancer cells at G1/S phase, which leading to a significant cell growth inhibition. Moreover, it can induce strong cellular autophagy and the autophagy would be inhibited through autophagic inhibitors with reducing EDH-induced inhibition of cell growth in colorectal cancer cells. Further studies indicated that DEH can also induce endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, and could subsequently stimulating autophagy through activating PERK/eIF2α and IRE1α/XBP-1s/CHOP pathways. Knockdown of PERK or IRE1α can significantly decrease the DEH-induced autophagy and retrieve cell viability in cells treated with DEH. What’s more, DEH exhibits significant anti-cancer activities through CDX- and PDX-model as well. Taken together, our studies strongly suggest that DEH might be a potential anti-cancer agent against colorectal cancer via activating ER stress-induced autophagy inhibition.
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