Effects of cow ghee (clarified butter oil) & soybean oil on carcinogen-metabolizing enzymes in rats

Indian J Med Res. 2012 Sep;136(3):460-5.


Background & objectives: Our previous study showed that cow ghee relative to soybean oil had a protective effect against carcinogen induced mammary cancer in rats. The objective of this study was to elucidate its biochemical mechanism.

Methods: Two groups of 21 day old rats (20 each) were fed for 44 wk diet containing cow ghee or soybean oil (10%). Five animals from each group were sacrificed at 0 day and at 5, 21 and 44 wk for analysis of phase I and phase II pathways enzymes of carcinogen metabolism.

Results: Dietary cow ghee relative to soybean oil decreased the activities of cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes, CYP1A1, CYP1A2, CYP1B1 and CYP2B1, responsible for activation of carcinogen in liver. Carcinogen detoxification activities of uridinediphospho-glucuronosyl transferase (UDPGT) and quinone reductase (QR) in liver, and γ-glutamyltranspeptidase (GGTP) and QR in mammary tissue were significantly higher in cow ghee fed rats than in soybean oil fed rats. The hepatic GGTP activity decreased on soybean oil diet; while in cow ghee group it remained unaffected.

Interpretation & conclusions: Our findings show that dietary cow ghee compared to soybean oil downregulates the enzyme activities responsible for carcinogen activation in liver and upregulates carcinogen detoxification activities in liver and mammary tissues.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aryl Hydrocarbon Hydroxylases / metabolism
  • Carcinogens / metabolism*
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A1 / metabolism
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A2 / metabolism
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1B1
  • Dietary Fats
  • Female
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Soybean Oil / pharmacology*


  • Carcinogens
  • Dietary Fats
  • Soybean Oil
  • Aryl Hydrocarbon Hydroxylases
  • Cyp1b1 protein, rat
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A1
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A2
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1B1