High-Fat Diet Alters Gene Expression in the Liver and Colon: Links to Increased Development of Aberrant Crypt Foci

Sara Padidar, Andrew Farquharson, Lynda Williams, Rebecca Kearney, John Arthur, Janice Drew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Background Obesity is associated with an increased risk of colon cancer. High-fat diets that lead to obesity may be a contributing factor, but the mechanisms are unknown.
Aims This study examines susceptibility to azoxymethane (AOM)-induced precancerous lesions in mice in response to consumption of either a low or a high-fat diet and associated molecular changes in the liver and colon.
Methods Gene markers of xenobiotic metabolism, leptinregulated inflammatory cytokines and proliferation were assessed in liver and colon in response to high-fat feeding to determine links with increased sensitivity to AOM.
Results High-fat feeding increased development of AOM-induced precancerous lesions and was associated with increased CYP2E1 gene expression in the liver, but not the colon. Leptin receptors and the colon stem cell marker (Lgr5) were down-regulated in the proximal colon, with a corresponding up-regulation of the inflammatory cytokine (IL6) in response to high-fat feeding. Notably in the distal colon, where aberrant crypt foci develop in response to AOM, the proliferative stem cell marker, Lgr5, was significantly up-regulated with high-fat feeding. Conclusions The current study provides evidence that high-fat diets can alter regulation of molecular markers of xenobiotic metabolism that may expose the colon to carcinogens, in parallel with activation of b-catenin-regulated targets regulating colon epithelial cells. High-fat diets associated with obesity may alter multiple molecular factors that act synergistically to increase the risk of colon cancer associated with obesity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1866-1874
Number of pages9
JournalDigestive Diseases and Sciences
Issue number7
Early online date29 Feb 2012
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012


  • colon cancer
  • obesity-related cancer
  • gene expression
  • leptin


Dive into the research topics of 'High-Fat Diet Alters Gene Expression in the Liver and Colon: Links to Increased Development of Aberrant Crypt Foci'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this