Resistant starch prevents colonic DNA damage induced by high dietary cooked red meat or casein in rats

Cancer Biol Ther. 2006 Mar;5(3):267-72. doi: 10.4161/cbt.5.3.2382. Epub 2006 Mar 5.


In a previous study we have shown that high levels of dietary protein (as casein) result in increased levels of colonic DNA damage, measured by the comet assay, and thinning of the colonic mucus layer in rats when dietary resistant starch (RS) is negligible. Feeding RS abolishes these effects. This study aimed to establish whether a diet high in protein as cooked red meat would have similar effects and whether RS was protective. Rats were fed a diet containing 15% or 25% casein or 25% cooked lean red beef, each with or without the addition of 48% high amylose maize starch (a rich source of RS) for four weeks. As expected, high dietary casein caused a 2-fold increase in colonic DNA damage compared with a low casein diet and reduced the thickness of the colonic mucus layer by 41%. High levels of cooked meat caused 26% greater DNA damage than the high casein diet but reduced mucus thickness to a similar degree to casein. Addition of RS to the diet abolished the increase in DNA damage and the loss of colonic mucus thickness induced by either high protein diet. Cecal and fecal short chain fatty acid pools were also increased by inclusion of RS in the diet. Because DNA damage is an early step in the initiation of cancer, these findings suggest that increased DNA damage due to high dietary protein as cooked red meat or casein could increase colorectal cancer risk but inclusion of resistant starch in the diet could significantly reduce that risk.

MeSH terms

  • Amylose / administration & dosage*
  • Amylose / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Caseins / administration & dosage
  • Caseins / adverse effects*
  • Cecum / chemistry
  • Colon / anatomy & histology
  • Colon / chemistry*
  • Colon / cytology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / etiology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • DNA Damage*
  • Diet
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / metabolism
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Proteins / adverse effects*
  • Fatty Acids, Volatile / analysis
  • Feces / chemistry
  • Hot Temperature
  • Intestinal Mucosa / cytology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / pathology
  • Male
  • Meat / adverse effects*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Risk Factors
  • Water
  • Zea mays / chemistry


  • Caseins
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Fatty Acids, Volatile
  • Water
  • Amylose