Epidemiological studies propose a protective role for dietary fiber in colon cancer (CRC). One possible mechanism of fiber is its fermentation property in the gut and ability to change microbiota composition and function. Here, we investigate the role of a dietary fiber mixture in polyposis and elucidate potential mechanisms using TS4Cre×cAPCl°x468 mice. Stool microbiota profiling was performed, while functional prediction was done using PICRUSt. Stool short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) metabolites were measured. Histone acetylation and expression of SCFA butyrate receptor were assessed. We found that SCFA-producing bacteria were lower in the polyposis mice, suggesting a decline in the fermentation product of dietary fibers with polyposis. Next, a high fiber diet was given to polyposis mice, which significantly increased SCFA-producing bacteria as well as SCFA levels. This was associated with an increase in SCFA butyrate receptor and a significant decrease in polyposis. In conclusion, we found polyposis to be associated with dysbiotic microbiota characterized by a decline in SCFA-producing bacteria, which was targetable by high fiber treatment, leading to an increase in SCFA levels and amelioration of polyposis. The prebiotic activity of fiber, promoting beneficial bacteria, could be the key mechanism for the protective effects of fiber on colon carcinogenesis. SCFA-promoting fermentable fibers are a promising dietary intervention to prevent CRC.
Keywords: CRC; SCFA; butyrate; dietary fiber; microbiota.