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ARS Home » Southeast Area » New Orleans, Louisiana » Southern Regional Research Center » Commodity Utilization Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #382978

Research Project: Development of Novel Cottonseed Products and Processes

Location: Commodity Utilization Research

Title: Gossypol: friend or foe for human nutrition and health?

item Cao, Heping
item Sethumadhavan, Kandan

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/21/2021
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Gossypol is a plant polyphenol with a highly colored yellow pigment. It is found in the small intercellular pigment glands in the leaves, stems, roots, and seeds of cotton plants (Gossypium hirsutum L.). Gossypol has traditionally been regarded as an anti-nutritional toxic compound. It has been known for a long time that consumption of gossypol-containing cottonseed oil contributes to its toxicity causing male infertility. Therefore, gossypol is regarded as unsafe for most animal and human consumption. The residual gossypol in cottonseed meals limits its use primarily to feed ruminants, which have a relative high tolerance for the toxic compound. Significant efforts have been conducted to reduce gossypol content in cottonseed by selecting glandless cotton varieties and genetic engineering of gossypol-free seeds of cotton plants. Meanwhile, gossypol has been proposed to have potential biomedical applications. Gossypol and related compounds are reported to have anticancer activities associated with breast cancer, colon cancer, pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer. It has antiobesity, antiinflammatory and antifungal activities. These new discoveries have generated intensive interest in biomedical field and enormous amounts of research have been directed at understanding the medical utilization of gossypol and related compounds. We recently investigated the effects of gossypol on cell viability and expression of 55 genes involved in glucose transport, lipid biosynthesis, and inflammatory responses in mammalian cells by MTT, qPCR and immunoblotting methods. Our results showed that gossypol inhibited cancer cell survival with decreased expression of a number of genes in the colon cancer cells. We also showed that gossypol-induced cell death is associated with massive induction of antiinflammatory tristetraprolin family and proinflammatory cytokine gene expression in mouse macrophages. It is still an open question if gossypol is a friend or foe for human nutrition and health; it may all be dependent on the target cells and diseases.