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White kidney bean extract (WKBE) is a nutraceutical often advocated as an anti-obesity agent. The main proposed mechanism for these effects is alpha-amylase inhibition, thereby slowing carbohydrate digestion and absorption. Thus, it is possible that WKBE could impact the gut microbiota and modulate gut health. We investigated the effects of supplementing 20 healthy adults with WKBE for 1 week in a randomised, placebo-controlled crossover trial on the composition of the gut microbiota, gastrointestinal (GI) inflammation (faecal calprotectin), GI symptoms, and stool habits. We conducted in vitro experiments and used a gut model system to explore potential inhibition of alpha-amylase. We gained qualitative insight into participant experiences of using WKBE via focus groups. WKBE supplementation decreased the relative abundance of Bacteroidetes and increased that of Firmicutes, however, there were no significant differences in post-intervention gut microbiota measurements between the WKBE and control. There were no significant effects on GI inflammation or symptoms related to constipation, or stool consistency or frequency. Our in vitro and gut model system analyses showed no effects of WKBE on alpha-amylase activity. Our findings suggest that WKBE may modulate the gut microbiota in healthy adults, however, the underlying mechanism is unlikely due to active site inhibition of alpha-amylase.
There is strong evidence that foods containing dietary fibre protect against colorectal cancer, resulting at least in part from its anti-proliferative properties. This study aimed to investigate the effects of supplementation with two non-digestible carbohydrates, resistant starch (RS) and polydextrose (PD), on crypt cell proliferative state (CCPS) in the macroscopically normal rectal mucosa of healthy individuals. We also investigated relationships between expression of regulators of apoptosis and of the cell cycle on markers of CCPS. Seventy-five healthy participants were supplemented with RS and/or PD or placebo for 50 d in a 2 × 2 factorial design in a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (the Dietary Intervention, Stem cells and Colorectal Cancer (DISC) Study). CCPS was assessed, and the expression of regulators of the cell cycle and of apoptosis was measured by quantitative PCR in rectal mucosal biopsies. SCFA concentrations were quantified in faecal samples collected pre- and post-intervention. Supplementation with RS increased the total number of mitotic cells within the crypt by 60 % (P = 0·001) compared with placebo. This effect was limited to older participants (aged ≥50 years). No other differences were observed for the treatments with PD or RS as compared with their respective controls. PD did not influence any of the measured variables. RS, however, increased cell proliferation in the crypts of the macroscopically-normal rectum of older adults. Our findings suggest that the effects of RS on CCPS are not only dose, type of RS and health status-specific but are also influenced by age.
DNA methylation is a key component of the epigenetic machinery that is responsible for regulating gene expression and, therefore, cell function. Patterns of DNA methylation change during development and ageing, differ between cell types, are altered in multiple diseases and can be modulated by dietary factors. However, evidence about the effects of dietary factors on DNA methylation patterns in humans is fragmentary. This study was initiated to collate evidence for causal links between dietary factors and changes in DNA methylation patterns. We carried out a systematic review of dietary intervention studies in adult humans using Medline, EMBASE and Scopus. Out of 22 149 screened titles, sixty intervention studies were included, of which 65% were randomised (n 39). Most studies (53%) reported data from blood analyses, whereas 27% studied DNA methylation in colorectal mucosal biopsies. Folic acid was the most common intervention agent (33%). There was great heterogeneity in the methods used for assessing DNA methylation and in the genomic loci investigated. Meta-analysis of the effect of folic acid on global DNA methylation revealed strong evidence that supplementation caused hypermethylation in colorectal mucosa (P=0·009). Meta-regression analysis showed that the dose of supplementary folic acid was the only identified factor (P<0·001) showing a positive relationship. In summary, there is limited evidence from intervention studies of effects of dietary factors, other than folic acid, on DNA methylation patterns in humans. In addition, the application of multiple different assays and investigations of different genomic loci makes it difficult to compare, or to combine, data across studies.
Bowel cancer risk is strongly influenced by lifestyle factors including diet and physical activity. Several studies have investigated the effects of adherence to the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF)/American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) cancer prevention recommendations on outcomes such as all-cause and cancer-specific mortality, but the relationships with molecular mechanisms that underlie the effects on bowel cancer risk are unknown. This study aimed to investigate the relationships between adherence to the WCRF/AICR cancer prevention recommendations and wingless/integrated (WNT)-pathway-related markers of bowel cancer risk, including the expression of WNT pathway genes and regulatory microRNA (miRNA), secreted frizzled-related protein 1 (SFRP1) methylation and colonic crypt proliferative state in colorectal mucosal biopsies. Dietary and lifestyle data from seventy-five healthy participants recruited as part of the DISC Study were used. A scoring system was devised including seven of the cancer prevention recommendations and smoking status. The effects of total adherence score and scores for individual recommendations on the measured outcomes were assessed using Spearman’s rank correlation analysis and unpaired t tests, respectively. Total adherence score correlated negatively with expression of Myc proto-oncogene (c-MYC) (P=0·039) and WNT11 (P=0·025), and high adherers had significantly reduced expression of cyclin D1 (CCND1) (P=0·042), WNT11 (P=0·012) and c-MYC (P=0·048). Expression of axis inhibition protein 2 (AXIN2), glycogen synthase kinase (GSK3β), catenin β1 (CTNNB1) and WNT11 and of the oncogenic miRNA miR-17 and colonic crypt kinetics correlated significantly with scores for individual recommendations, including body fatness, red meat intake, plant food intake and smoking status. The findings from this study provide evidence for positive effects of adherence to the WCRF/AICR cancer prevention recommendations on WNT-pathway-related markers of bowel cancer risk.
Epidemiological and experimental evidence suggests that non-digestible carbohydrates (NDC) including resistant starch are protective against colorectal cancer. These anti-neoplastic effects are presumed to result from the production of the SCFA, butyrate, by colonic fermentation, which binds to the G-protein-coupled receptor GPR43 to regulate inflammation and other cancer-related processes. The WNT pathway is central to the maintenance of homeostasis within the large bowel through regulation of processes such as cell proliferation and migration and is frequently aberrantly hyperactivated in colorectal cancers. Abnormal WNT signalling can lead to irregular crypt cell proliferation that favours a hyperproliferative state. Butyrate has been shown to modulate the WNT pathway positively, affecting functional outcomes such as apoptosis and proliferation. Butyrate's ability to regulate gene expression results from epigenetic mechanisms, including its role as a histone deacetylase inhibitor and through modulating DNA methylation and the expression of microRNA. We conclude that genetic and epigenetic modulation of the WNT signalling pathway may be an important mechanism through which butyrate from fermentation of resistant starch and other NDC exert their chemoprotective effects.
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