Chemopreventive potential of zinc in experimentally induced colon carcinogenesis

Toxicol Lett. 2007 Jun 15;171(1-2):10-8. doi: 10.1016/j.toxlet.2007.02.002. Epub 2007 Feb 20.


The present study was performed to evaluate the efficacy of zinc treatment on colonic antioxidant defense system and histoarchitecture in 1,2-dimethylhydrazine- (DMH) induced colon carcinogenesis in male Sprague-Dawley rats. The rats were segregated into four groups viz., normal control, DMH treated, zinc treated, DMH+zinc treated. Colon carcinogenesis was induced through weekly subcutaneous injections of DMH (30 mg/kg body weight) for 16 weeks. Zinc (in the form of zinc sulphate) was supplemented to rats at a dose level of 227 mg/L in drinking water, ad libitum for the entire duration of the study. Increased tumor incidence, tumor size and number of aberrant crypt foci (ACF) were accompanied by a decrease in lipid peroxidation, glutathione-S-transferase, superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase. On the contrary, significantly increased levels of reduced glutathione (GSH) and glutathione reductase (GR) were observed in DMH treated rats. Administration of zinc to DMH treated rats significantly decreased the tumor incidence, tumor size and aberrant crypt foci number with simultaneous enhancement of lipid peroxidation, SOD, catalase and glutathione-S-transferase. Further, the levels of GSH and GR were also decreased following zinc supplementation to DMH treated rats. Well-differentiated signs of dysplasia were evident in colonic tissue sections by DMH administration alone. However, zinc treatment to DMH treated rats greatly restored normalcy in the colonic histoarchitecture, with no apparent signs of neoplasia. EDXRF studies revealed a significant decrease in tissue concentrations of zinc in the colon following DMH treatment, which upon zinc supplementation were recovered to near normal levels. In conclusion, the results of this study suggest that zinc has a positive beneficial effect against chemically induced colonic preneoplastic progression in rats induced by DMH.

MeSH terms

  • 1,2-Dimethylhydrazine / administration & dosage
  • 1,2-Dimethylhydrazine / toxicity
  • Administration, Oral
  • Alkylating Agents / administration & dosage
  • Alkylating Agents / toxicity
  • Animals
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Biological Availability
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Carcinogens / administration & dosage
  • Carcinogens / toxicity
  • Catalase / metabolism
  • Colon / drug effects
  • Colon / metabolism
  • Colon / pathology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / chemically induced
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Glutathione Reductase / metabolism
  • Glutathione Transferase / metabolism
  • Injections, Subcutaneous
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Male
  • Precancerous Conditions / metabolism
  • Precancerous Conditions / pathology
  • Precancerous Conditions / prevention & control
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism
  • Zinc Sulfate / administration & dosage
  • Zinc Sulfate / pharmacokinetics
  • Zinc Sulfate / therapeutic use*


  • Alkylating Agents
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Carcinogens
  • Zinc Sulfate
  • Catalase
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Glutathione Reductase
  • Glutathione Transferase
  • Glutathione
  • 1,2-Dimethylhydrazine