Eating Berries may prevent cancer, reported a latest study published in Scientific Reports. According to the study, the antioxidants present in the berries could have some strong cancer fighting properties too. The rich concentration of antioxidants in berries help improve digestive system, facilitate weight loss and fight signs of ageing.
Berries naturally produce pigments, that give them the red, blue and purple colour, known as anthocyanins. Anthocyanin pigments and associated flavonoids have demonstrated ability to fight cancer. According to the study, these increase the function of the enzyme sirtuin 6 (SIRT6) in cancer cells.
According to the researchers, regulation of this enzyme could open up new avenues for cancer treatment.
Sirtuins are enzymes regulating the expression of genes that control the function of cells through key cellular signalling pathways.
The scientists explained that ageing causes changes in sirtuin function, these changes then go on to contribute to the development of various diseases.
Sirtuin 6 is an enzyme that is also linked to glucose metabolism, in various studies. The researchers also discovered a new cyanidin anthocyanin in berries, which can prove detrimental in cancer treatment.
"The most interesting results of our study relate to cyanidin, which is an anthocyanin found abundantly in wild bilberry, blackcurrant and lingonberry," said lead author Minna Rahnasto-Rilla, from the varsity.
Scientists found that cyanidin increased SIRT6 enzyme levels in human colorectal cancer cells. Cyanidin also happened to decrease the expression of the Twist1 and GLUT1 cancer genes, while increasing the expression of the tumour suppressor FoXO3 gene in cells.
A computer-based model to predict how different flavonoid compounds in plants can regulate the SIRT6 enzyme, was also designed by the researchers to better understand the mechanism.
Researchers noted in the report that anthocyanins mayincrease the activation of SIRT6, which may play a role in cancer pathogenesis.
The study also in a way paves way for development of new drugs that regulate SIRT6 function, noted the researchers.