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Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2018 Nov 29;19(11):3237-3244.

Expression of Metallothionein after Administration of Aspirin, Vitamin C or Zinc Supplement in the DMH Induced Colon Carcinoma in Rat

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Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India. Email:



Chemoprevention refers to the use of specificnatural or synthetic chemical agents to suppress the development and progression to carcinoma. The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of aspirin, vitamin C or zinc on the metallothionein (MT) mRNA gene expression as well as MT protein content byimmunohistochemistry andradioimmunoassay (RIA) in 1, 2-dimethyl hydrazine (DMH) induced cancerous colonic tissuein rats.


Rats were randomly divided into three groups, group 1 (aspirin), group 2 (vitamin C) group 3 (zinc), each of which was further sub divided into two groups and given subcutaneous injections of DMH (30 mg/kg body weight) twice a week for 3 months and sacrificed at either 4 months (A-precancer model) or at 6 months (B-cancer model).The control groups were administered 0.5 ml saline subcutaneously. All the 3 groups were simultaneouslyadministered aspirin, vitamin Cor zinc supplement respectively from the beginning till the end of the study.


It was observed that rats co-treated with aspirin, vitamin C or zinc resulted in a significant increase in the colonic MT mRNA expression in the precancer and cancer model as compared to the saline only controls. MT protein expression showed a 60%, 64% and 78% immunopositivity in the co-treated groups respectively.The mean MT content in the precancer and the cancer model was restored to near normal levels in all the three co-treated groups.


These results suggest that co-administration of aspirin, vitamin C or zinc resulted in a significant increase in MT mRNA gene expression, MT protein expression and MT protein content which could possibly be one of the reasons for a chemo protective effect against progression to colonic cancer in a chemically induced DMH model in rat.Zinc supplement had a greater effect on metallothionein expression than aspirin or vitamin C.


Colon Cancer; Zinc; Metallothionein; Aspirin; Vitamin C; Dimethyl Hydrazine

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