Fruit and vegetable consumption is associated at the population level with a protective effect against colorectal cancer. Phenolic compounds, especially abundant in berries, are of interest due to their putative anticancer activity. After consumption, however, phenolic compounds are subject to digestive conditions within the gastrointestinal tract that alter their structures and potentially their function. However, the majority of phenolic compounds are not efficiently absorbed in the small intestine and a substantial portion pass into the colon. We characterized berry extracts (raspberries, strawberries, blackcurrants) produced by in vitro-simulated upper intestinal tract digestion and subsequent fecal fermentation. These extracts and selected individual colonic metabolites were then evaluated for their putative anticancer activities using in vitro models of colorectal cancer, representing the key stages of initiation, promotion and invasion. Over a physiologically-relevant dose range (0-50 µg/ml gallic acid equivalents), the digested and fermented extracts demonstrated significant anti-genotoxic, anti-mutagenic and anti-invasive activity on colonocytes. This work indicates that phenolic compounds from berries undergo considerable structural modifications during their passage through the gastrointestinal tract but their breakdown products and metabolites retain biological activity and can modulate cellular processes associated with colon cancer.
|Publication status||Published (in print/issue) - 2012|