Colorectal cancer is a common cancer strongly associated with diet. Certain probiotics and prebiotics possess an inhibitory activity against colorectal cancer, while synbiotics may be more effective in preventing this cancer than either prebiotics or probiotics alone. Germinated brown rice (GBR) is considered as a candidate prebiotics with anticancer potential. However, the effect of GBR combined with probiotics on colorectal cancer is not clear. The present study investigated the preventive effect of combination of GBR and Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis, or both on colorectal carcinogenesis and the possible mechanism in rats treated with 1,2-dimethylhydrazine (DMH) and dextran sulfate sodium (DSS). DMH/DSS treatment induced preneoplastic aberrant crypt foci (ACF) and mucin-depleted foci (MDF), reduced superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity, increased anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 expression, and decreased the expression of pro-apoptotic p53, Bax, and caspase-3 in the colon. Germinated brown rice alone or combined with probiotics inhibited the formation of MDF in the middle colon, enhanced the colonic expression of p53 and Bax, and increased the ratio of Bax/Bcl-2. Combined treatment of GBR and probiotics inhibited the formation of ACF-producing sialomucin (SIM-ACF) and recovered the activity of SOD in the colon. Combination of GBR and L. acidophilus further increased caspase-3 expression and decreased Bcl-2 expression. These findings suggest that GBR combined with L. acidophilus and/or B. animalis subsp. lactis may inhibit colorectal carcinogenesis by enhancing antioxidative capacity and inducing apoptosis. This synbiotics may be a potential functional food or chemopreventive agent for controlling colorectal cancer.
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