Effects of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) on intestinal polyp development in ApcΔ716 knockout mice

Masanobu Oshima, Mami Takahashi, Hiroko Oshima, Masahiro Tsutsumi, Kazunaga Yazawa, Takashi Sugimura, Susumu Nishimura, Keiji Wakabayashi, Makoto M. Taketo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Epidemiological studies and animal experiments show an association of dietary intake of fish oils and low incidence of several types of cancers. The active ingredients of fish oils appear to be polyunsaturated fatty acids of ω-3 type such as eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). We have investigated chemopreventive effects of DHA on mouse intestinal polyposis using adenomatous polyposis coli (Apc) gene knockout mice. Damage to the human APC gene is responsible for not only familial adenomatous polyposis but also many sporadic cancers of the entire digestive tract. Using homologous recombination in embryonic stem cells, we recently constructed gene knockout mice containing a truncation mutation in the Ape gene at codon 716 (ApcΔ716). The heterozygous mice developed numerous intestinal polyps, and all microadenomas dissected from the earliest polyps had already lost the wild-type allele, indicating the loss of heterozygosity [Oshima et al. (1995), Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA, 92, 4482-4486]. We fed ApcΔ716 heterozygotes with AIN-76A purified diet containing 3% DHA for 7 weeks, and scored the number and size of intestinal polyps. Average DHA intakes per day were 4.1 and 4.3 g/kg body wt for males and females, respectively. DHA-fed females had only 31% of polyps compared with the control females that developed about 220 polyps, whereas DHA-fed males showed no significant decrease in the polyp number. As for the polyp size, the proportion of larger polyps decreased more significantly in females than in males. This is the first demonstration that DHA inhibits intestinal polyposis induced by an Apc mutation at both its formation and growth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2605-2607
Number of pages3
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1995 Nov
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Physiology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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