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B vitamins in mother's diet reduce colorectal cancer risk in offspring
Date:6/9/2011

BOSTON (June 9, 2011) − Mice born to mothers who are fed a diet supplemented with B vitamins are less likely to develop intestinal tumors, report scientists at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (USDA HNRCA) at Tufts University.

Previous research in humans and mice suggests that B vitamins, particularly folate, play a role in the prevention of colorectal cancer. Using a mouse model of naturally occurring colorectal cancer, the USDA HNRCA scientists examined whether a mothers' B vitamin intake impacts her offspring's cancer risk. Mothers were fed diets containing supplemental, adequate or mildly deficient quantities of vitamins B2, B6, B12 and folate prior to conception through weaning after which all of the offspring received the same adequate diet.

"We saw, by far, the fewest intestinal tumors in the offspring of mothers consuming the supplemented diet," says Jimmy Crott, PhD, senior author and a scientist in the Vitamins and Carcinogenesis Laboratory at the USDA HNRCA. "Although the tumor incidence was similar between offspring of deficient and adequate mothers, 54% of tumors in the deficient offspring were advanced and had invaded surrounding tissue while only 18% of tumors in the offspring of adequate mothers displayed these aggressive properties."

The results were published online June 9 in the journal Gut.

Crott and colleagues associated the tumor suppression seen in the offspring of supplemented mothers with a protection against disruptions to the 'Wnt' signaling pathway, a network of genes commonly altered in colorectal cancer.

"The strongest expression of tumor-suppressing genes in the Wnt pathway was in the offspring of supplemented mothers and the weakest was in the offspring of the mildly deficient mothers," says first author Eric Ciappio, a PhD candidate at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts.

"We attribute these differences
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Contact: Andrea Grossman
617-636-3728
Tufts University, Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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