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Mol Cell Biochem. 2012 Nov;370(1-2):7-14. doi: 10.1007/s11010-012-1392-x. Epub 2012 Jul 18.

The enhancement of phase 2 enzyme activities by sodium butyrate in normal intestinal epithelial cells is associated with Nrf2 and p53.

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Department of Food and Human Health Sciences, Graduate School of Human Life Science, Osaka City University, Sumiyoshi-ku, Osaka, Japan.


Dietary fiber fermentation by the colonic bacterial flora produces short-chain fatty acids, acetate, propionate and butyrate. Among them, butyrate is considered to be the major energy substrate for colonocytes and, at least in rats, seems to protect against colonic carcinogenesis. In this study, we examined the effect and the mechanisms of short-chain fatty acids on the activity of phase 2 enzymes. Sodium butyrate increased phase 2 enzyme activities in normal rat small intestine epithelial cells, Glutathione S-transferase and NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase (NQO) in a dose-dependent manner(;) however, other short-chain fatty acids did not increase them. The mechanism of the induction of phase 2 enzymes with sodium butyrate sodium butyrate, but not other short-chain fatty acids was related to the increase of NF-E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) nuclear translocation and the decrease in the levels of nuclear fraction p53. Sodium butyrate also caused enhancement of Nrf2 mRNA levels and suppression of p53 mRNA levels. Sodium butyrate enhances the activities of phase 2 enzymes via an increase in the Nrf2 protein levels in the nucleus and a decrease in the mRNA and protein levels of p53.

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