Dung beetle glycosaminoglycan decreases melanoma size in mice

January 11, 2019


Background: Dung beetle glycosaminoglycan is known to possess anti-aging activities. However, its anti-cancer mechanisms are not fully elucidated yet. The objective of this study was to evaluate the anti-cancer effect of insect-derived polymer dung beetle glycosaminoglycan (GAG) after intraperitoneally injecting it to melanoma mice induced by B16F10 cells.

Methods: To determine molecular mechanism involved in the anti-cancer effect of dung beetle GAG, its origin N-glycan under 3KD Dalton was assayed for melanoma cell cytotoxicity. Quantitative comparisons of adhesive molecule on extracellular matrix and activities of tissue inhibitor of metalloprotease 2 (TIMP-2) were also investigated. In vivo anti-cancer effect of dung beetle GAG on solid tumor size, survival time and gene-expression profiles was also assayed using B10F10 melanoma mice model. Mice with induced melanoma were then treated with Catharsius molossus (dung beetle) GAG (CaG) at 5 mg/kg for 8 weeks to investigate its anti-cancer effects compared to bumblebee () queen glycosaminoglycan (IQG) and >em class="EmphasisTypeItalic ">Huechys sanguinea glycosaminoglycan (HEG).

Results: These N-glycans derived from these GAG were composed of many linear heparinoid polysaccharides, polymers with hexose and N-acetylhexose. Adminstration with these GAGs increased survival time and decreased melanoma sizes in mice, in accordance with their inhibitory effects on cell growth ratio of melanoma B16F10. In addition, treatment with N-glycans derived from theses glycosaminoglycan increased activities of TIMP-2 in HMVEC cells pretreated with TNF-alpha and in melanoma cells, suggesting that they had anti-inflammatory and anticancer activities. In DNA microarray results, compared to control, CaG treated mouse group showed upregulation of 192 genes including collagen,typeI,alpha1 (Col1a1), consistent with the highly increased in vitro extracellular matrix (ECM) adhesion on collagen 1 and up-regulation of heparanase (Hpse). After treatment with CaG, a total of 152 genes were down-regulated, including nuclear RNA export factor (Nxf3) and hyaluronan proteoglycan link protein1 (Hapln1).

Conclusions: Glycosaminoglycan, CaG can strengthen ECM by increasing activity of TIMP-2 and adhesion activity on collagen known to inhibit changes of ECM, leading to tumor cell invasion and progression.


Ahn, M.Y., Kim, B.J., Kim, H.J. et al. BMC Cancer (2019) 19: 9. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12885...


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