Western-style diets induce oxidative stress and dysregulate immune responses in the colon in a mouse model of sporadic colon cancer

J Nutr. 2009 Nov;139(11):2072-8. doi: 10.3945/jn.108.104125. Epub 2009 Sep 16.


A Western-style diet (WD), defined by high-fat, low-calcium, and vitamin D content, is associated with increased risk of human colorectal cancer. Understanding molecular mechanisms altered by the WD is crucial to develop preventive and therapeutic strategies. Effects of a WD on the colonic transcriptome of C57Bl/6J mice, a model for sporadic colon cancer, were studied at endpoints before tumors occur. To assess whether a WD induces inflammatory changes, expression profiles of a broad spectrum of inflammatory proteins were performed and numbers of lamina propria macrophages were determined with semiquantitative morphometry. Transcriptome changes were translated into molecular interaction network maps and pathways. Pathways related to oxidative stress response; lipid, glutathione, and xenobiotic metabolism; and the immune response were perturbed by the WD. Several nuclear factor-erythroid 2-related factor 2- and aryl hydrocarbon receptor-dependent genes, including those coding for enzymes involved in phase 1 and 2 drug metabolism and oxidative stress responses, were induced. Oxidative stress was demonstrated by measurements of endogenous colonic redox-sensitive compound concentrations. Perturbations in immune response-related pathways, expression of inflammatory proteins, and increased numbers of lamina propria macrophages showed that the WD significantly alters the local colonic immune response. Collectively, these data suggest that consumption of a WD interferes with networks of related biological response pathways involving colonic lipid metabolism, oxidative stress, and the immune response. These new findings impact our understanding of links between consumption of WD and colon carcinogenesis, providing additional information for developing preventive means for decreasing colorectal cancer risk.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Colonic Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / etiology
  • Diet / adverse effects*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Homeostasis / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Immunity / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology*
  • RNA / genetics
  • RNA / isolation & purification
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Transcription, Genetic / drug effects
  • Weight Gain


  • RNA