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J Food Sci. 2009 Mar;74(2):T24-30. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2009.01070.x.

Equivocal colonic carcinogenicity of Aloe arborescens Miller var. natalensis berger at high-dose level in a Wistar Hannover rat 2-y study.

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  • 1Dept of Pathology and Host-Defense, Faculty of Medicine, Kagawa Univ, Kita-gun, Kagawa, Japan.


A 2-y carcinogenicity study of Aloe, Aloe arborescens Miller var. natalensis Berger, a food additive, was conducted for assessment of toxicity and carcinogenic potential in the diet at doses of 4% or 0.8% in groups of male and female Wistar Hannover rats. Both sexes receiving 4% showed diarrhea, with loss of body weight gain. The survival rate in the 4% female group was significantly increased compared with control females after 2 y. Hematological and biochemical examination showed increase of RBC, Hb, and Alb in the 4% males. The cause of these increases could conceivably have been dehydration through diarrhea. AST and Na were significantly decreased in the males receiving 4%, and Cl was significantly decreased in both 4% and 0.8% males. A/G was significantly increased in the 4% females, and Cl was significantly decreased (0.8%) in the female group. Histopathologically, both sexes receiving 4% showed severe sinus dilatation of ileocecal lymph nodes, and yellowish pigmentation of ileocecal lymph nodes and renal tubules. Adenomas or adenocarcinomas in the cecum, colon, and rectum were observed in 4% males but not in the 0.8% and control male groups. Similarly, in females, adenomas in the colon were also observed in the 4% but not 0.8% and control groups. In conclusion, Aloe, used as a food additive, exerted equivocal carcinogenic potential at 4% high-dose level on colon in the 2-y carcinogenicity study in rats. Aloe is not carcinogenic at nontoxic-dose levels and that carcinogenic potential in at 4% high-dose level on colon is probably due to irritation of the intestinal tract by diarrhea.

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