Background/aims: Ulcerative colitis is a remitting and relapsing inflammatory bowel disorder. Current treatments are limited, and if poorly controlled, colitis may progress to colorectal cancer. Previously, Emu Oil protected the intestine in experimental models of gut damage. We aimed to determine whether Emu Oil could reduce the severity of chronic colitis and prevent the onset of neoplasia in a mouse model of colitis-associated colorectal cancer.
Methods: Female C57BL/6 mice were injected (day 0) with azoxymethane, followed by ad libitum access to three dextran sulfate sodium/water cycles (7 days of dextran sulfate sodium and 14 days of water). Mice (n = 9/group) were orally administered either water or Emu Oil (low dose 80 µL or high dose 160 µL), thrice weekly for 9 weeks. Bodyweight and disease activity index were measured daily. Colitis progression was monitored by colonoscopy on days 20, 41 and 62. At killing, tumor number and size were recorded.
Results: Azoxymethane/dextran sulfate sodium induced significant bodyweight loss (maximum 24%) which was attenuated by Emu Oil treatment (low dose days 9, 10, 14: maximum 7%; high dose days 7-15, 30-36: maximum 11%; p < 0.05). Emu Oil reduced disease activity index of azoxymethane/dextran sulfate sodium mice at most time points (maximum 20%; p < 0.05). Additionally, Emu Oil reduced colonoscopically assessed colitis severity (days 20 and 62) compared to disease controls (p < 0.05). Finally, in azoxymethane/dextran sulfate sodium mice, low-dose Emu Oil resulted in fewer small colonic tumors (p < 0.05) compared to controls.
Conclusions: Emu Oil improved clinical indicators and reduced severity of colitis-associated colorectal cancer, suggesting therapeutic potential in colitis management.
Keywords: Colitis; Colorectal cancer; Emu Oil; Inflammatory bowel disease.