Transcriptomics analysis reveals new insights in E171-induced molecular alterations in a mouse model of colon cancer

Sci Rep. 2018 Jun 27;8(1):9738. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-28063-z.


Titanium dioxide as a food additive (E171) has been demonstrated to facilitate growth of chemically induced colorectal tumours in vivo and induce transcriptomic changes suggestive of an immune system impairment and cancer development. The present study aimed to investigate the molecular mechanisms behind the tumour stimulatory effects of E171 in combination with azoxymethane (AOM)/dextran sodium sulphate (DSS) and compare these results to a recent study performed under the same conditions with E171 only. BALB/c mice underwent exposure to 5 mg/kgbw/day of E171 by gavage for 2, 7, 14, and 21 days. Whole genome mRNA microarray analyses on the distal colon were performed. The results show that E171 induced a downregulation of genes involved in the innate and adaptive immune system, suggesting impairment of this system. In addition, over time, signalling genes involved in colorectal cancer and other types of cancers were modulated. In relation to cancer development, effects potentially associated with oxidative stress were observed through modulation of genes related to antioxidant production. E171 affected genes involved in biotransformation of xenobiotics which can form reactive intermediates resulting in toxicological effects. These transcriptomics data reflect the early biological responses induced by E171 which precede tumour formation in an AOM/DSS mouse model.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Azoxymethane / toxicity*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Dextran Sulfate / toxicity
  • Female
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Transcriptome / genetics*
  • Xenobiotics / metabolism


  • Antioxidants
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Xenobiotics
  • Dextran Sulfate
  • Azoxymethane