Simulated colon fiber metabolome regulates genes involved in cell cycle, apoptosis, and energy metabolism in human colon cancer cells

Mol Cell Biochem. 2011 Nov;357(1-2):235-45. doi: 10.1007/s11010-011-0894-2. Epub 2011 Jun 11.


High level of dietary fiber has been epidemiologically linked to protection against the risk for developing colon cancer. The mechanisms of this protection are not clear. Fermentation of dietary fiber in the colon results in production of for example butyrate that has drawn attention as a chemopreventive agent. Polydextrose, a soluble fiber that is only partially fermented in colon, was fermented in an in vitro colon simulator, in which the conditions mimic the human proximal, ascending, transverse, and distal colon in sequence. The subsequent fermentation metabolomes were applied on colon cancer cells, and the gene expression changes studied. Polydextrose fermentation down-regulated gene ontology classes linked with cell cycle, and affected number of metabolically active cells. Furthermore, up-regulated effects on classes linked with apoptosis, with increased caspase 2 and 3 activity, implicate that polydextrose fermentation plays a role in induction of apoptosis in colon cancer cells. The up-regulated genes involved also key regulators of lipid metabolism, such as PPARα and PGC-1α. These results offer hypotheses for the mechanisms of two health benefits linked with consumption of dietary fiber, reducing risk of development of colon cancer, and dyslipidemia.

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Colon / physiology*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Dietary Fiber / metabolism
  • Dietary Fiber / pharmacology*
  • Energy Metabolism / drug effects
  • Fermentation
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Glucans / metabolism
  • Glucans / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects
  • Metabolome*
  • Microarray Analysis


  • Dietary Fiber
  • Glucans
  • polydextrose