Dietary pectin and calcium inhibit colonic proliferation in vivo by differing mechanisms

Cell Prolif. 2003 Dec;36(6):361-75. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2184.2003.00291.x.


Diet plays an important role in promoting and/or preventing colon cancer; however, the effects of specific nutrients remain uncertain because of the difficulties in correlating epidemiological and basic observations. Transmissible murine colonic hyperplasia (TMCH) induced by Citrobacter rodentium, causes significant hyperproliferation and hyperplasia in the mouse distal colon and increases the risk of subsequent neoplasia. We have recently shown that TMCH is associated with an increased abundance of cellular beta-catenin and its nuclear translocation coupled with up-regulation of its downstream targets, c-myc and cyclin D1. In this study, we examined the effects of two putatively protective nutrients, calcium and soluble fibre pectin, on molecular events linked to proliferation in the colonic epithelium during TMCH. Dietary intervention incorporating changes in calcium [high (1.0%) and low (0.1%)] and alterations in fibre content (6% pectin and fibre-free) were compared with the standard AIN-93 diet (0.5% calcium, 5% cellulose), followed by histomorphometry and immunochemical assessment of potential oncogenes. Dietary interventions did not alter the time course of Citrobacter infection. Both 1.0% calcium and 6% pectin diet inhibited increases in proliferation and crypt length typically seen in TMCH. Neither the low calcium nor fibre-free diets had significant effect. Pectin diet blocked increases in cellular beta-catenin, cyclin D1 and c-myc levels associated with TMCH by 70%, whereas neither high nor low calcium diet had significant effect on these molecules. Diets supplemented with either calcium or pectin therefore, exert anti-proliferative effects in mouse distal colon involving different molecular pathways. TMCH is thus a diet-sensitive model for examining the effect of specific nutrients on molecular characteristics of the pre-neoplastic colonic epithelium.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adhesins, Bacterial / analysis
  • Animals
  • Calcium, Dietary / pharmacology*
  • Carrier Proteins / analysis
  • Cell Division
  • Citrobacter rodentium
  • Colon / microbiology
  • Colon / pathology*
  • Cyclin D1 / metabolism
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / metabolism
  • Dietary Fiber / pharmacology
  • Escherichia coli Proteins*
  • Hyperplasia / prevention & control*
  • Mice
  • Pectins / pharmacology*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc / metabolism
  • Trans-Activators / metabolism
  • beta Catenin


  • Adhesins, Bacterial
  • CTNNB1 protein, mouse
  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc
  • Trans-Activators
  • beta Catenin
  • Cyclin D1
  • eaeA protein, E coli
  • Pectins