Comparison of the effect of different short chain fatty acids on the growth and differentiation of human colonic carcinoma cell lines in vitro

Cell Biol Int. 1997 May;21(5):281-7. doi: 10.1006/cbir.1997.0153.


The aim of this study was to compare the effects of acetate, propionate, butyrate, iso-butyrate, valerate, iso-valerate and caproate on cell growth and on the activities of alkaline phosphatase (AP) and dipeptidyl aminopeptidase IV (DPP IV) by three human colonic adenocarcinoma cell lines. In addition to butyrate, propionate and valerate inhibited cell proliferation of the three cell lines. The other SCFAs did not influence cell proliferation. AP and DPP IV activities were strongly stimulated by butyrate on two of the three cell lines. On HT-29, AP was strongly stimulated, however DPPIV expression remained undetectable. Propionate and valerate exhibited a weaker stimulation, the other SCFAs being ineffective. The effect of SCFAs on cell proliferation and differentiation clearly depends on the number of carbons and on the configuration of the basic structure of the molecule.

MeSH terms

  • Alkaline Phosphatase / metabolism
  • Butyrates / pharmacology
  • Butyric Acid
  • Caco-2 Cells / cytology*
  • Caco-2 Cells / drug effects
  • Caco-2 Cells / enzymology
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Dipeptidyl Peptidase 4 / metabolism
  • Electric Conductivity
  • Epithelial Cells
  • Epithelium / drug effects
  • Fatty Acids / pharmacology*
  • HT29 Cells / cytology*
  • HT29 Cells / drug effects
  • HT29 Cells / enzymology
  • Histamine Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Pentanoic Acids / pharmacology
  • Propionates / pharmacology


  • Butyrates
  • Fatty Acids
  • Histamine Antagonists
  • Pentanoic Acids
  • Propionates
  • Butyric Acid
  • Alkaline Phosphatase
  • Dipeptidyl Peptidase 4
  • n-pentanoic acid
  • propionic acid