Background: Resistin-like molecules (RELM) are expressed in many tissues and among those, RELMβ is most abundantly expressed in the colon. Based on animal studies, RELMβ is induced by high fat diets, obesity, and intestinal microflora and may play a role in insulin resistance and intestinal inflammation. In the present study, we evaluated whether RELMβ could be measured in human plasma and the influence of selected host and behavioral factors on RELMβ levels, including known risk factors for colorectal cancer.
Methods: The subjects for this pilot study were derived from healthy controls who participated in a population-based case-control study of colorectal cancer in Metropolitan Detroit. The subjects were 45-80 years of age without history of cancer or colorectal resection.
Results: RELMβ was present in human plasma, with levels in the range of 0.08-0.26 ng/mL. Lower RELMβ levels were found in subjects with non-Caucasian race, lower pack-years of smoking, and higher physical activity index scores. Other variables such as dietary intakes, gender, obesity, use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents and history of polyps were not associated with RELMβ levels.
Conclusions: The direct association of RELMβ with smoking and inverse association with physical activity, both of which are risk factors for colon cancer, indicates that RELMβ may be involved in mediating the effects of these two lifestyle factors on risk of colon cancer.
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