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Nutr Cancer. 2008;60 Suppl 1:61-9. doi: 10.1080/01635580802393118.

Effects of a black raspberry diet on gene expression in the rat esophagus.

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Comprehensive Cancer Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA.


A diet containing 5% freeze-dried black raspberries (BRB) markedly inhibits esophageal cancer in rats treated with the carcinogen, N-Nitrosomethylbenzylamine (NMBA). We previously identified esophageal genes that become dysregulated after short-term treatment of rats with NMBA and determined which genes are maintained at near-normal levels of expression if the animals were fed 5% BRB prior to and during NMBA treatment. In this study, we report the effects of the BRB diet on gene expression in esophagi from untreated (control) animals. After 3 wk on a 5% BRB diet, control esophagi were excised, stripped of the submucosal and muscularis layers, and processed for histology and microarray profiling. RNA microarrays revealed that the BRB altered the expression levels of 36 genes; 24 were upregulated, and 12 were downregulated. Among the upregulated genes are genes associated with cellular matrix, signaling cascades, transcription regulation, apoptosis, metabolism, and intriguingly, contraction. Most of the downregulated transcripts are involved in cell regulation, signal transduction, and metabolism. Histopathological analyses revealed that the BRB have little or no effect on esophageal morphology. In conclusion, histological and molecular studies indicate that a 5% BRB diet produces only modest effects on the esophagus, the target tissue for NMBA carcinogenesis in the rat.

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