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The present study has investigated the pro-apoptotic potential of ferulic acid by analysing the activities of caspase-3 and 9 as well as by investigating the expression pattern of pro-apoptotic protein, Bax, during 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene (DMBA)-induced hamster buccal pouch carcinogenesis. Oral tumors were developed in the buccal pouch of hamsters by painting with 0.5% DMBA three times a week for 14 weeks. We noticed 100% tumor formation, histopathologically confirmed as well differentiated squamous cell carcinoma, with marked abnormalities in the activities of caspase-3 and 9 and Bax expression pattern in hamsters treated with DMBA alone. Oral administration of ferulic acid at a dose of 40mg/kg bw to hamsters treated with DMBA, not only completely prevented the formation of oral tumors but also restored the activities of caspase 3 and 9 and up regulated the expression of Bax. The present study thus suggests that the pro-apoptotic potential of ferulic acid might have inhibited tumor formation during DMBA-induced hamster buccal pouch carcinogenesis.
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