Anti-Tumor Effect of Orally Administered Spinach Glycolipid Fraction on Implanted Cancer Cells, Colon-26, in Mice


We succeeded in purifying a major glycolipid fraction from a green vegetable, spinach. This fraction consists mainly of three glycolipids: monogalactosyl diacylglycerol (MGDG), digalactosyl diacylglycerol (DGDG), and sulfoquinovosyl diacylglycerol (SQDG). In a previous study, we found that the glycolipid fraction inhibited DNA polymerase activity, cancer cell growth and tumor growth with subcutaneous injection. We aimed to clarify oral administration of the glycolipid fraction, suppressing colon adenocarcinoma (colon-26) tumor growth in mice. A tumor graft study showed that oral administration of 20 mg/kg glycolipid fraction for 2 weeks induced a 56.1% decrease in the solid tumor volume (P < 0.05) without any side-effects, such as loss of body weight or major organ failure, in mice. The glycolipid fraction induced the suppression of colon-26 tumor growth with inhibition of angiogenesis and the expression of cell proliferation marker proteins such as Ki-67, proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), and Cyclin E in the tumor tissue. These results suggest that the orally administered glycolipid fraction from spinach could suppress colon tumor growth in mice by inhibiting the activities of neovascularization and cancer cellular proliferation in tumor tissue.

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Monogalactosyl diacylglycerol


Digalactosyl diacylglycerol


Sulfoquinovosyl diacylglycerol


Phosphate-buffered saline


Proliferating cell nuclear antigen


von Willebrand Factor


Microvessel density


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This investigation was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for JSPS Fellows (N. M.), a Grant-in-Aid for Kobe-Gakuin University Joint Research (A) (H. Y. and Y. M.) and a “Life Science Center for Cooperative Research” Project for Private Universities: matching fund subsidy from MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology), 2006–2010 (H. Y. and Y. M.). Y. M. acknowledges a Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (A) (No. 19680031) from MEXT, and Grant-in-Aids from the Nakashima Foundation (Japan) and the Foundation of the Oil & Fat Industry kaikan (Japan).

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Correspondence to Yoshiyuki Mizushina.

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Maeda, N., Kokai, Y., Ohtani, S. et al. Anti-Tumor Effect of Orally Administered Spinach Glycolipid Fraction on Implanted Cancer Cells, Colon-26, in Mice. Lipids 43, 741 (2008).

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  • Glycolipid
  • Spinach
  • Anti-tumor activity
  • Anti-angiogenesis activity
  • Anti-cancer cell growth activity