Antiproliferative Effect of Amaranth Proteins and Peptides on HT-29 Human Colon Tumor Cell Line

  • Ana Clara Sabbione
  • Fredrick Onyango Ogutu
  • Adriana Scilingo
  • Miao Zhang
  • María Cristina AñónEmail author
  • Tai-Hua MuEmail author
Original Paper


Antiproliferative effect of Amaranthus mantegazzianus proteins and peptides released after simulated gastrointestinal digestion (DH% 37.8 ± 3.8) was investigated on human colon cancer cell line HT-29. Inhibition of proliferation of HT-29 cells was exhibited after a 24 h treatment with different concentrations of amaranth protein isolate (API) and the peptides released after digestion (DGS), presenting IC50 values of 1.35 ± 0.12 and 0.30 ± 0.07 mg soluble protein/mL, respectively. Lactate dehydrogenase assay indicated that both samples caused the loss of membrane integrity and cell lysis over HT-29 cells, and DAPI fluorescence microscopies evidenced typical apoptotic features. Moreover, Annexin V-FITC flow cytometry showed a significant increase of early apoptotic and late apoptotic/necrotic HT-29 cells compared to untreated ones, and caspase-3 assay confirmed the apoptosis induction with a 43.0 ± 10.3 and 65.8 ± 12.7% increase of caspase-3 activity produced by a 2 mg/mL treatment of API and DGS, respectively. In conclusion, amaranth peptides successfully released after simulated gastrointestinal digestion would exert a potential antiproliferative activity over HT-29 tumor cells. This effect was linked to the induction of cell necrosis and apoptosis, supporting the idea of using amaranth proteins as a potential food alternative ingredient for functional foods.


Amaranth proteins and peptides HT-29 colon cancer cells Antiproliferative effect Apoptosis and necrosis 



Amaranth peptides released after simulated gastrointestinal digestion


Amaranth protein isolate


Degree of hydrolysis


Lactate dehydrogenase


2-(4-Amidinophenyl)-6-indolecarbamidinedihydrochloride, 4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole dihydrochloride



Authors are very grateful for the contribution of the researcher Dr. Hongnan Sun.


This work was supported by International PICT “Vegetable proteins as a source of functional and healthy ingredients” under China-Argentina Binational Center in Food Science and Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (No. KY201401005).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Authors Ana Clara Sabbione, Fredrick Onyango Ogutu, Adriana Scilingo, Zhang Miao, María Cristina Añón and Tai-Hua Mu, declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ana Clara Sabbione
    • 1
  • Fredrick Onyango Ogutu
    • 2
  • Adriana Scilingo
    • 1
  • Miao Zhang
    • 2
  • María Cristina Añón
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tai-Hua Mu
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo en Criotecnología de Alimentos (CIDCA), Facultad de Ciencias Exactas-UNLP, CONICET, CICLa PlataArgentina
  2. 2.Laboratory of Food Chemistry and Nutrition Science, Institute of Food Science and Technology, Key Laboratory of Agro-Products Processing, Ministry of AgricultureChinese Academy of Agricultural SciencesBeijingChina

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