N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids reverse the development of polyps in ApcMin/+ transgenic mice

Maria Notarnicola, Valeria Tutino, Maria Gabriella Caruso, Antonio Francavilla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dietary n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) have been demonstrated to reduce tumor load in ApcMin/+ mice, supporting a role for n-3 PUFAs in the inhibition of colon carcinogenesis and progression. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether a diet enriched with n-3 PUFAs, known already to have anti-neoplastic efficacy in ApcMin/+ mice, would reverse the development of intestinal polyps. For this purpose, ApcMin/+ mice were randomly divided into 3 groups of 5 animal each and fed as follows: control ST1 and ST2 groups, received a purified AIN-93M standard diet for 5 and 10 weeks, respectively; the OM-3R group received a purified AIN-93M standard diet for 5 weeks and a diet supplemented with salmon oil, rich in n-3 PUFAs, for another 5 weeks. After dietary treatment, in intestinal tissue, we evaluated the polyp number and volume, expression levels of cell proliferation- and apoptosis-related proteins, as well as the protein expression of LDL receptor and the levels of fatty acid synthase (FAS) activity. The results showed the ability of a diet enriched with n-3 PUFAs to suppress intestinal polyps in ApcMin/+ mice, and to significantly reverse polyp development associated with the downregulation of cell proliferation markers and with the induction of estrogen receptor β and LDL receptor, which are negative modulators of cellular proliferation. This noteworthy finding is important for a translational study evaluating the therapeutic role of n-3 PUFAs in the prevention and treatment of subjects with gastrointestinal diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)504-510
Number of pages7
JournalOncology Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Colorectal cancer
  • Estrogen receptor
  • Intestinal polyp
  • LDL receptor
  • N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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