Tissue-specific attenuation of endogenous DNA I-compounds in rats by carcinogen azoxymethane: possible role of dietary fish oil in colon cancer prevention. Academic Article uri icon


  • I-compounds are bulky covalent DNA modifications that are derived from metabolic intermediates of nutrients. Some I-compounds may play protective roles against cancer, aging, and degenerative diseases. Many carcinogens and tumor promoters significantly reduce I-compound levels gradually during carcinogenesis. Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States, whereas cancer of the small intestine is relatively rare. Here we have studied levels of I-compounds in DNA of colon and duodenum of male Sprague-Dawley rats treated with azoxymethane. The effects of dietary lipids (fish oil or corn oil) on colon and duodenal DNA I-compounds were also investigated. Rats fed a diet containing fish oil or corn oil were treated with 15 mg/kg azoxymethane. Animals were terminated 0, 6, 9, 12, or 24 hours after injection. I-compound levels were analyzed by the nuclease P1-enhanced (32)P-postlabeling assay. Rats treated with azoxymethane displayed lower levels of I-compounds in colon DNA compared with control groups (0 hour). However, I-compound levels in duodenal DNA were not diminished after azoxymethane treatment. Animals fed a fish oil diet showed higher levels of I-compounds in colonic DNA compared with corn oil groups (mean adduct levels for fish and corn oil groups were 13.35 and 10.69 in 10(9) nucleotides, respectively, P = 0.034). Taken together, these results support claims that fish oil, which contains a high level of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, may have potent chemopreventive effects on carcinogen-induced colon cancer. The fact that duodenal I-compounds were not diminished by azoxymethane treatment may have been due to the existence of tissue-specific factors protecting against carcinogenesis. In conclusion, our observations show that endogenous DNA adducts may serve not only as sensitive biomarkers in carcinogenesis and cancer prevention studies, but are also helpful to further our understanding of the chemopreventive properties of omega-3 fatty acids and mechanisms of carcinogenesis.

published proceedings

  • Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev

author list (cited authors)

  • Zhou, G., Popovic, N., Lupton, J. R., Turner, N. D., Chapkin, R. S., & Donnelly, K. C.

citation count

  • 8

complete list of authors

  • Zhou, Guo-Dong||Popovic, Natasa||Lupton, Joanne R||Turner, Nancy D||Chapkin, Robert S||Donnelly, Kirby C

publication date

  • May 2005