Send to

Choose Destination
Gastroenterology. 1997 Aug;113(2):487-96.

Short-chain fatty acids promote the migration of colonic epithelial cells in vitro.

Author information

University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.



Repair of colonic epithelial erosions requires cell migration. This study aimed to examine the effects of physiologically relevant short-chain fatty acids on migration in colonic epithelial cell lines.


Butyrate, propionate, and acetate were added to confluent monolayers of LIM1215 colon cancer cells after wounding. Migration in circular wounds was assessed after 24 hours.


The migration of LIM1215 cells was stimulated in a concentration-dependent manner by all short-chain fatty acids. In four experiments, 2 mmol/L butyrate, 8 mmol/L propionate, and 16 mmol/L acetate induced 112.6% +/- 6.7%, 98.5% +/- 5.4%, and 63.4% +/- 7.2% (mean +/- SEM) stimulation above control migration, respectively. Their effects were additive at submaximal concentrations and reversible. Butyrate also stimulated migration in two other colon cancer cell lines, Caco-2 and LIM2405. However, butyrate failed to stimulate the migration of nongastrointestinal and nonepithelial cell lines. The stimulatory effect of butyrate required protein and RNA synthesis but was independent of cell proliferation, presence of serum, beta-oxidation, transforming growth factor beta, intracellular acidification, and substratum composition.


In wounded in vitro models of colonic epithelium, short-chain fatty acids promote cell migration. If such an effect occurs in vivo, it would have ramifications for the biology and pathobiology of the colonic mucosa.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center