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Int J Mol Sci. 2011;12(4):2325-35. doi: 10.3390/ijms12042325. Epub 2011 Apr 4.

Dextran sulfate sodium inhibits alanine synthesis in Caco-2 cells.

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Department of Nutrition, University of California, Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA; E-Mail:


To understand and characterize the pathogenic mechanisms of inflammatory bowel disease, dextran sulfate sodium (DSS) has been used to induce acute and chronic colitis in animal models by causing intestinal epithelium damage. The mechanism of action of DSS in producing this outcome is not well understood. In an effort to understand how DSS might impact epithelial cell metabolism, we studied the intestinal epithelial cell line Caco-2 incubated with 1% DSS over 56 hours using (1)H NMR spectroscopy. We observed no difference in cell viability as compared to control cultures, and an approximately 1.5-fold increase in IL-6 production upon incubation with 1% DSS. The effect on Caco-2 cell metabolism as measured through changes in the concentration of metabolites in the cell supernatant included a three-fold decrease in the concentration of alanine. Given that the concentrations of other amino acids in the cell culture supernatant were not different between treated and control cultures over 56 hours suggest that DSS inhibits alanine synthesis, specifically alanine aminotransferase, without affecting other key metabolic pathways. The importance of alanine aminotransferase in inflammatory bowel disease is discussed.


ALAT; ALT; Caco-2; Crohn’s disease; DSS; IBD; NMR; alanine transaminase; metabolomics; metabonomics

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