Apoptosis induction by dohevanil, a DHA substitutive analog of capsaicin, in MCF-7 cells

Tuoya, Naomichi Baba, Yasuaki Shimoishi, Yoshiyuki Murata, Mikiro Tada, Masamichi Koseki, Kyoya Takahata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Capsaicin (8-methyl-N-vanillyl-6-nonenamide), a major pungent ingredient in a variety of red peppers of the genus Capsicum, is a type of vanilloid. It has been shown to induce apoptosis in many cell types. The effects of vanilloids on apoptosis induction are thought to be correlated with the length and degree of the unsaturation of the fatty acyl chains. In this study, we compared the effect of capsaicin and its docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, C22:6) analog (we named as dohevanil) on human breast cancer MCF-7 cells, which do not express caspase-3. Dohevanil, which was synthesized from DHA and vanillylamine, has longer and highly unsaturated fatty acyl chain than capsaicin. We showed that both vanilloids exhibit effects of growth inhibition and DNA fragmentation induction in MCF-7 cells. These effects of dohevanil were more potent than capsaicin. Because these effects were inhibited by z-VAD-fmk, a broad-spectrum caspase inhibitor, the vanilloids induced the apoptosis via caspase-dependent pathway not involving caspase-3. In conclusion, dohevanil has a more potent effect on apoptosis induction in MCF-7 cells than capsaicin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1515-1519
Number of pages5
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - Feb 23 2006


  • Apoptosis
  • Breast cancer MCF-7 cells
  • Capsaicin
  • Caspase-3
  • Dohevanil

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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