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Previously, a synbiotic combination of probiotic Lactobacillus gasseri 505 (LG) and a new prebiotic, Cudrania tricuspidata leaf extract (CT) in fermented milk, designated FCT, showed an in vitro immunomodulatory effect and antioxidant activity. Although synbiotic combination might have cancer-protective effects, these activities have not been fully validated in vivo. Ten-week treatment of LG, CT, or FCT to azoxymethane (AOM)/dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-induced colitis-associated colorectal cancer (CAC) mouse model reduced both the incidence of colonic tumors and damage to the colonic mucosa effectively, suggesting a cancer-protective effect. To understand these, biomarkers associated with inflammation, colon barrier, apoptosis, and cancer cell proliferation were monitored in AOM/DSS group versus LG/CT/FCT groups. A synbiotic combination (FCT) down-regulated pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α, IFN-γ, IL-1β, and IL-6) and inflammation-associated enzymes (iNOS and COX-2), and up-regulated anti-inflammatory cytokines (IL-4 and IL-10). In addition, colon barrier experiment revealed that biomarkers of mucus layer (MUC-2 and TFF3) and tight junction (occludin and ZO-1) were up-regulated. Subsequent apoptosis experiment showed that pro-apoptotic factors (p53, p21, and Bax) were up-regulated and anti-apoptotic factors (Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL) were down-regulated. Furthermore, comparative metagenome analysis of gut microbiota revealed that Staphylococcus decreased but Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Akkermansia increased, supporting their protective effects, accompanied by increased short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). Taken together, the FCT administration showed cancer-protective effects by reducing the risk of colitis-associated colon cancer via regulation of inflammation, carcinogenesis, and compositional change of gut microbiota. Consequently, the synbiotic combination (FCT) could be a novel potential health-protective natural agent against CAC.

Keywords: apoptosis; colorectal cancer; immune modulation; microbiome; synbiotics; tight junction.

Research Insights

SupplementHealth OutcomeEffect TypeEffect Size
Lactobacillus gasseri LG-36Alterations in Gut Microbiota CompositionBeneficial
Lactobacillus gasseri LG-36Increased Colon Barrier BiomarkersBeneficial
Lactobacillus gasseri LG-36Increased Pro-apoptotic Factor LevelsBeneficial
Lactobacillus gasseri LG-36Reduced Colonic Mucosa DamageBeneficial
Lactobacillus gasseri LG-36Reduced Colon Tumor IncidenceBeneficial
Lactobacillus gasseri LG-36Reduced Pro-Inflammatory CytokinesBeneficial

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