Antitumor activity of the β-glucan paramylon from Euglena against preneoplastic colonic aberrant crypt foci in mice
In the present study, the effects of β-glucans isolated from Euglena on the formation of preneoplastic aberrant crypt foci (ACF) in the colon were examined in mice. Mice were fed a semi-purified AIN-93M diet containing cellulose or the same diet but with the cellulose replaced with β-glucans in the form of Euglena, paramylon, or amorphous paramylon, for 11 weeks. After consuming these dietary supplements for 8 days, half of the mice were intraperitoneally administered 1,2-dimethylhydrazine (DMH) at a dose of 20 mg kg−1 body weight every week for 6 weeks. Among the DMH-treated groups, the paramylon- and amorphous paramylon-fed mice displayed a significantly lower number of ACF than the control group. Also, the liver weight of the paramylon group was markedly decreased compared with those of the control and Euglena groups, whereas the cecal content weight and fecal volume of the paramylon group were significantly increased. As for the levels of organic acids in the cecal contents, the paramylon group displayed significantly increased lactic acid levels compared with the control and Euglena groups. From these findings, although the mechanism of the ACF-inhibiting effects of paramylon remains unclear, it is considered that β-glucans, such as paramylon and its isomer amorphous paramylon, have preventive effects against colon cancer and are more effective against the condition than Euglena.