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J Med Food. 2006 Summer;9(2):237-45.

Effect of spices on lipid metabolism in 1,2-dimethylhydrazine-induced rat colon carcinogenesis.

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Department of Biochemistry, Annamalai University, Annamalainagar, Tamilnadu, India.


Colon cancer is the second most common cancer among men and women worldwide. We investigated the effect of red chilli (Capsicum annum L.), cumin (Cuminum cyminum L.), and black pepper (Piper nigrum L.) on colon cancer induced in rats by a colon-specific carcinogen, 1,2-dimethylhydrazine (DMH). Colon cancer was induced by subcutaneous injection of DMH at a dosage of 20 mg/kg of body weight (15 doses, at 1-week intervals). The rats were continued with the standard pellet diet and supplemented red chilli [C. annum L., 0.015% (wt/wt) mixed with the diet], cumin seeds [C. cyminum L., 1.25% (wt/wt) mixed with the diet], and black pepper (P. nigrum L., 0.5% (wt/wt) mixed with the diet] throughout the experimental period. After the total experimental period of 32 weeks (including 2 weeks of acclimatization) the incidence and number of tumors in the colon were observed to be significantly higher in the rats administered DMH and/or red chillis, as compared with the cumin + DMH and black pepper + DMH groups. No tumors were observed in the control, cumin + DMH, or black pepper + DMH groups. The levels of fecal bile acids and neutral sterols in 24-hour fecal samples were significantly decreased in DMH + chilli-administered rats, while the excretion of fecal bile acids and neutral sterols was significantly increased in cumin + DMH- and black pepper + DMH-administered rats. In DMH-, chilli-, and chilli + DMH-administered rats the levels of cholesterol, cholesterol/phospholipid ratio, and 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase activity were decreased in cumin + DMH- and black pepper + DMH-treated rats. The phospholipid levels were reduced in the DMH, chilli, and chilli + DMH groups as compared with the cumin + DMH and black pepper + DMH groups. Our results show that chilli supplementation promotes colon carcinogenesis, whereas cumin or black pepper suppresses colon carcinogensis in the presence of the procarcinogen DMH.

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