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Calcium inhibits promotion by hot dog of 1,2-dimethylhydrazine-induced mucin-depleted foci in rat colon

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Epidemiology suggests that processed meat is associated with colorectal cancer risk, but few experimental studies support this association. We have shown that a model of cured meat made in a pilot workshop promotes preneoplastic lesions, mucin-depleted foci (MDF) in the colon of rats. This study had two aims: to check if real store-bought processed meats also promote MDF, and to test if calcium carbonate, which suppresses heme-induced promotion, can suppress promotion by processed meat. A 14-day study was done to test the effect of nine purchased cured meats on fecal and urinary biomarkers associated with heme-induced carcinogenesis promotion. Fecal water from rats given hot dog or fermented raw dry sausage was particularly cytotoxic. These two cured meats were thus given to rats pretreated with 1,2-dimethylhydrazine, to evaluate their effect on colorectal carcinogenesis. After a 100-days feeding period, fecal apparent total N-nitroso compounds (ATNC) were assayed and colons were scored for MDF. Hot dog diet increased fecal ATNC and the number of MDF per colon compared with the no-meat control diet (3.0 ± 1.7 vs. 1.2 ± 1.4, p < 0.05). In a third study, addition of calcium carbonate (150 µmol/g) to the hot dog diet decreased the number of MDF/colon and fecal ATNC compared with the hot dog diet without calcium carbonate (1.2 ± 1.1 vs. 2.3 ± 1.4, respectively, p < 0.05). This is the first experimental evidence that a widely consumed processed meat promotes colon carcinogenesis in rats. It also shows that dietary prevention of this detrimental effect is possible.