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J Vet Sci. 2013;14(4):387-93. Epub 2013 Jun 30.

Chemopreventive and metabolic effects of inulin on colon cancer development.

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Institute of Experimental Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Pavol Jozef S̆fárik University, Kos̆ice 040 11, The Slovak Republic.


Prebiotics modulate microbial composition and ensure a healthy gastrointestinal tract environment that can prevent colon cancer development. These natural dietary compounds are therefore potential chemopreventive agents. Thirty Sprague-Dawley rats (4 months old) were experimentally treated with procarcinogen dimethylhydrazine to induce colon cancer development. The rats were randomly assigned to three groups: a control group (CG), a group treated with dimethylhydrazine (DMH), and a group given DMH and inulin, a prebiotic (DMH+PRE). The effects of inulin on the activities of bacterial glycolytic enzymes, short-chain fatty acids, coliform and lactobacilli counts, cytokine levels, and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and transcription nuclear factor kappa beta (NFκB) immunoreactivity were measured. Inulin significantly decreased coliform counts (p < 0.01), increased lactobacilli counts (p < 0.001), and decreased the activity of β-glucuronidase (p < 0.01). Butyric and propionic concentrations were decreased in the DMH group. Inulin increased its concentration that had been reduced by DMH. Inulin decreased the numbers of COX-2- and NFκB-positive cells in the tunica mucosae and tela submucosae of the colon. The expression of IL-2, TNFα, and IL-10 was also diminished. This 28-week study showed that dietary intake of inulin prevents preneoplastic changes and inflammation that promote colon cancer development.


Sprague-Dawley rats; chemoprevention; colon cancer; prebiotic

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