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Nutr Cancer. 2006;56(1):95-102.

Intestinal bifidobacteria that produce trans-9, trans-11 conjugated linoleic acid: a fatty acid with antiproliferative activity against human colon SW480 and HT-29 cancer cells.

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  • 1Teagasc, Moorepark Food Research Centre, Fermoy, County Cork, Ireland.


Bifidobacterium breve species of human intestinal origin have the ability to synthesize cis-9, trans-11 (c9, t11) conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) from free linoleic acid. In this study, the ability of Bifidobacterium species to isomerize C(18) polyunsaturated fatty acids was investigated, and the antiproliferative activities of the two main microbially produced CLA isomers were assessed. Linoleic acid was converted principally to c9, t11 CLA and lesser amounts of t9, t11 CLA, whereas c9, t11 CLA was converted mainly to t9, t11 CLA. Likewise, t10, c12 CLA was converted principally to t9, t11 CLA, which was incorporated into the bacterial cell membranes. To examine the antiproliferative effect of the two main CLA isomers formed, SW480 and HT-29 human colon cancer cells were cultured in the presence of c9, t11 CLA and t9, t11 CLA. The t9, t11 CLA had a more potent antiproliferative effect than c9, t11 CLA. It is tempting to suggest that the ability of Bifidobacterium to produce such bioactive metabolites may be associated with the beneficial effects of bifidobacteria present in the human gastrointestinal tract.

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