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Cancer Immunol Immunother. 1991;33(5):293-8.

Dietary restriction reduces the incidence of 3-methylcholanthrene-induced tumors in mice: close correlation with its potentiating effect on host T cell functions.

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Laboratory of Nutrition, Faculty of Agriculture, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan.


All mice treated with 3-methylcholanthrene (MC) suffered with tumor 114 days after treatment. However, 40% dietary restriction caused a great inhibition of tumor incidence. In order to understand the mechanisms by which dietary restriction decreased the occurrence of tumor in mice, we investigated the correlation between tumor incidence and host T cell immune responses. At 114 days after MC administration, the mice were sacrificed and their T cell immune responses were assessed. Flow cytometry studies demonstrated that dietary restriction caused a marked increase of the proportion of Thy 1.2+, L3T4+ T cells in MC-treated diet-restricted mice. Consistent with this result, T cell responses against concanavalin A and interleukin-2 were also potentiated in spleen cells obtained from MC-treated diet-restricted mice, while spleen cells obtained from MC-treated unrestricted mice showed decreased T cell responses because of their tumor burden. Such potentiation of T cell functions by dietary restriction was also observed at earlier stages of MC-induced tumorigenesis. During the course of carcinogenesis, spleen cells obtained from diet-restricted mice showed decreased natural killer activity in vivo. However, in vitro induction of cytotoxic T cells was markedly augmented in MC-treated diet-restricted mice compared with unrestricted mice. These results strongly suggest that the increase of host T cell immune responses might be one of the major causes for the reduction of tumor occurrence by dietary restriction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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