Diet and carcinogen alter luminal butyrate concentration and intracellular pH in isolated rat colonocytes. Academic Article uri icon


  • A 2 x 2 factorial experiment was conducted to examine the effects of two different dietary fibers and carcinogen treatment on colonic luminal short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) concentrations and intracellular pH (pHi) in rats. Twenty-four male Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into four groups, injected with a carcinogen [azoxymethane (AOM)] or normal saline (Sal), and fed one of two diets differing only in the type of dietary fiber [cellulose (Cell) or pectin (Pect)]. After 38 weeks of consuming these diets, the rats were euthanized, luminal contents were collected for analysis of SCFA concentrations, and colonocytes were isolated from the proximal and distal colon for subsequent determination of pHi. Changes in pHi after the addition of exogenous sodium butyrate to the culture medium were also tested. The highest concentrations of SCFAs were produced by the control rats (saline injected) consuming the pectin diet. Luminal butyrate concentrations were reduced in three of four colonic segments of carcinogen-injected groups [proximal and distal cellulose (Prox Cell and Dist Cell) and distal pectin (Dist Pect)] compared with saline controls. The pHi was consistently higher in colonocytes isolated from carcinogen-injected rats (Prox Cell/AOM = 6.95 vs. Prox Cell/Sal = 6.65, Prox Pect/AOM = 6.75 vs. Prox Pect/Sal = 6.65, Dist Cell/AOM = 6.94 vs. Dist Cell/AOM = 6.85, Dist Pect/AOM = 6.92 vs. Dist Pect/Sal = 6.79) than in cells from saline-injected rats. Furthermore, in the majority of rats, pHi was lower in the proximal than in the distal colon. Addition of butyrate to cultured colonocytes consistently lowered pHi, but the effect was more pronounced in the carcinogen-injected animals. These data identify changes that occur intraluminally and intracellularly in colons of rats injected with AOM and suggest that, during tumorigenesis, alterations in butyrate production and basic colonocyte physiology may play an important role in the process.

published proceedings

  • Nutr Cancer

author list (cited authors)

  • Zoran, D. L., Barhoumi, R., Burghardt, R. C., Chapkin, R. S., & Lupton, J. R.

citation count

  • 24

complete list of authors

  • Zoran, DL||Barhoumi, R||Burghardt, RC||Chapkin, RS||Lupton, JR

publication date

  • January 1997