3,3'-diindolylmethane attenuates colonic inflammation and tumorigenesis in mice

Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2009 Aug;15(8):1164-73. doi: 10.1002/ibd.20917.


Background: 3,3-Diindolylmethane (DIM) is a major in vivo product of acid-catalyzed oligomerization of indole-3-carbinol (I3C) derived from Brassica food plants. Although DIM is known as a chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic phytochemical, the effects of DIM on inflammation in vivo are still unknown. In the present study we investigated the antiinflammatory effects of DIM on experimental colitis and colitis-associated colorectal carcinogenesis.

Methods: To determine if DIM has an antiinflammatory effect in vivo, we examined the therapeutic effects of DIM in dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-induced experimental colitis and colitis-associated colon carcinogenesis induced by azoxymethane (AOM)/DSS in BALB/c mice.

Results: Treatment with DIM significantly attenuated loss of body weight, shortening of the colon, and severe clinical signs in a colitis model. This was associated with a remarkable amelioration of the disruption of the colonic architecture and a significant reduction in colonic myeloperoxidase activity and production of prostaglandin E(2), nitric oxide, and proinflammatory cytokines. Further, DIM administration dramatically decreased the number of colon tumors in AOM/DSS mice.

Conclusions: These results suggest that DIM-mediated antiinflammatory action at colorectal sites may be therapeutic in the setting of inflammatory bowel disease and colitis-associated colon cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Azoxymethane / toxicity
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Carcinogens / toxicity
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
  • Colitis / chemically induced
  • Colitis / pathology
  • Colitis / prevention & control*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / chemically induced
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Dextran Sulfate / toxicity
  • Dinoprostone / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Indoles / therapeutic use*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Peroxidase / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Weight Loss / drug effects


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Carcinogens
  • Indoles
  • NF-kappa B
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Dextran Sulfate
  • Peroxidase
  • Dinoprostone
  • Azoxymethane
  • 3,3'-diindolylmethane