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Effect of intestinal microfloras from vegetarians and meat eaters on the genotoxicity of 2-amino-3-methylimidazo[4,5-f]quinoline, a carcinogenic heterocyclic amine.

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  • 1Institute of Cancer Research, University of Vienna, Borschkegasse 8A A-1090 Vienna, Austria.


Aim of this study was to investigate the impact of intestinal microfloras from vegetarians and non-vegetarians on the DNA-damaging activity of 2-amino-3-methyl-3H-imidazo[4,5-f]quinoline (IQ), a carcinogenic heterocyclic amine that is found in fried meats. Floras from four vegetarians (Seventh Day Adventists) and from four individuals who consumed high amounts of meats were collected and inoculated into germfree F344 rats. The rats were kept on isocaloric diets that either contained animal derived protein and fat (meat consumers group) or proteins and fat of plant origin (vegetarian groups). IQ (90 mg/kg bw) was administered orally, after 4 h the extent of DNA-damage in colon and liver cells was determined in single cell gel electrophoresis assays. In all groups, the IQ induced DNA-migration was in the liver substantially higher than in the colon. In animals harbouring floras of vegetarians, the extent of damage was in both organs significantly (69.2% in the liver, P<0.016 and 64.7%, P<0.042 in the colon, respectively) lower than in the meat consumer groups. Our findings show that diet related differences in the microfloras have a strong impact on the genotoxic effects of IQ and suggest that heterocyclic amines are less genotoxic and carcinogenic in individuals that consume mainly plant derived foods.

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