Effect of dietary supplementation on the frequency of spontaneous lacZ mutations in the developing colon

G. A. Trentin, J. Moody, N. Shima, L. U. Thompson, J. A. Heddle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Epidemiological studies have demonstrated that dietary modifications can reduce the incidence of cancer. Specifically, diets high in vegetables and fruits are associated with lower rates of cancer at many sites. Somatic mutations have a critical role in carcinogenesis suggesting the use of in vivo mutation assays as an alternative approach to studying the relationship between diet and cancer. Since the rate of accumulation of spontaneous mutations is highest during growth and development early in life, we tested whether certain foods as dietary supplements could reduce the rate of mutation during this period using lacZ transgenic mice. Pregnant female mice were placed on a control diet or a diet supplemented to 20% final dry weight with broccoli, cabbage, carrots, flaxseed, green peas, green peppers, oranges or strawberries for the entire duration of their pregnancy and lactation. Mutation frequencies were subsequently measured at the lacZ transgene in colonic epithelial cells of the offspring at 3 weeks of age. A small number of measurements were also made on siblings at 8 weeks of age. While the control AIN-96G diet on its own resulted in lower mutant frequencies than had been observed in earlier experiments with lab chow, no significant reduction in mutant frequencies was detected for any of the foods tested as compared to the AIN-93G diet alone. Significantly more mutations were found at 3 weeks of age in mice fed diets supplemented with broccoli or oranges, but the result with oranges may be the result of jackpot mutations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-231
Number of pages9
JournalMutation Research - Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jul 13 2004
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank M. Ondrack for her statistical advice and N. Hall for her technical assistance. This research was supported by a Strategic Grant in Nutrition and Cancer from The Cancer Research Society Inc., Canada awarded to J.A.H. G.A.T. was the recipient of a studentship from The Cancer Research Society Inc. N.S. was the recipient of a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.


  • Colon
  • Dietary supplementation
  • lacZ


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