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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2004 (2004), Issue 5, Pages 321-325
Review article

Molecular Mechanisms Behind the Chemopreventive Effects of Anthocyanidins

1Department of Biochemical Science and Technology, Faculty of Agriculture, Kagoshima University, Korimoto 1-21-24, Kagoshima 890-0065, Japan
2Department of Food Science for Health, Faculty of Health and Nutrition, Minami-Kyushu University, Miyazaki, 5-1-2 Kirishima 880-0032, Japan
3Department of Upland Farming Research, National Agricultural Research Center for Kyushu Okinawa Region, Miyazaki, Miyakonojo 885-0091, Japan

Received 3 March 2004; Revised 19 May 2004; Accepted 14 June 2004

Copyright © 2004. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Anthocyanins are polyphenolic ring-based flavonoids, and are widespread in fruits and vegetables of red-blue color. Epidemiological investigations and animal experiments have indicated that anthocyanins may contribute to cancer chemoprevention. The studies on the mechanism have been done recently at molecular level. This review summarizes current molecular bases for anthocyanidins on several key steps involved in cancer chemoprevention: (i) inhibition of anthocyanidins in cell transformation through targeting mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway and activator protein 1 (AP-1) factor; (ii) suppression of anthocyanidins in inflammation and carcinogenesis through targeting nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) pathway and cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) gene; (iii) apoptotic induction of cancer cells by anthocyanidins through reactive oxygen species (ROS) / c-Jun NH-terminal kinase (JNK)-mediated caspase activation. These data provide a first molecular view of anthocyanidins contributing to cancer chemoprevention.