Journal Article

Potency of dietary indole-3-carbinol as a promoter of aflatoxin B<sub>1</sub>-initiated hepatocarcinogenesis: results from a 9000 animal tumor study

Aram Oganesian, Jerry D. Hendricks, Cliff B. Pereira, Gayle A. Orner, George S. Baileyand and David E. Williams

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 20, issue 3, pages 453-458
Published in print March 1999 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online March 1999 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI:
Potency of dietary indole-3-carbinol as a promoter of aflatoxin B1-initiated hepatocarcinogenesis: results from a 9000 animal tumor study

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Indole-3-carbinol (I3C), a metabolite of glucobrassicin found in cruciferous vegetables, is documented as acting as a modulator of carcinogenesis and, depending on timing and dose of administration, it may promote hepatocarcinogenesis in some animal models. In this study we demonstrate that, when given post-initiation, dietary I3C promotes aflatoxin B1 (AFB1)-induced hepatocarcinogenesis in the rainbow trout model at levels as low as 500 p.p.m. Trout embryos (~9000) were initiated with 0, 25, 50, 100, 175 or 250 p.p.b. AFB1 by a 30 min immersion. Experimental diets containing 0, 250, 500, 750, 1000 or 1250 p.p.m. I3C were administered starting at 3 months and fish were sampled for liver tumors at 11–13 months. Promotion at the level of tumor incidence was statistically significant for all dietary levels, except 250 p.p.m. Relative potency for promotion markedly increased at dietary levels >750 p.p.m. We propose that more than one mechanism could be involved in promotion and that both estrogenic and Ah receptor-mediated pathways could be active. The estrogenicity of I3C, measured as its ability to induce vitellogenin (an estrogen biomarker in oviparous vertebrates) was evident at the lowest dietary level (250 p.p.m.), whereas CYP1A (a P450 isozyme induced through the Ah receptor pathway) was not induced until dietary levels of 1000 p.p.m. Therefore, at lower dietary levels, promotion by I3C in this model could be explained by estrogenic activities of I3C acid derivatives, as it is known that estrogens promote hepatocarcinogenesis in trout. Much stronger promotion was observed at high dietary I3C levels (1000 and 1250 p.p.m.), at which levels both CYP1A and vitellogenin were induced.

Keywords: AFB1, aflatoxin B1; CYP, cytochrome P450; I3C, indole-3-carbinol (3-indolemethanol); OTD, Oregon Test Diet; RP, relative potency; VG, vitellogenin.

Journal Article.  5197 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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