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Dietary Modulation of Bacteriophages as an Additional Player in Inflammation and Cancer

Department of Experimental Surgery—Cancer Metastasis, Medical Faculty Mannheim, Ruprecht-Karls University of Heidelberg, Ludolf-Krehl-Str. 13-17, 68167 Mannheim, Germany
Department of Biochemistry of Nutrition, University of Hohenheim, Garbenstr. 30, 70599 Stuttgart, Germany
Department of Vegetative and Clinical Physiology, University Hospital of Tuebingen, Otfried-Müllerstr. 27, 72076 Tuebingen, Germany
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Damián García-Olmo
Cancers 2021, 13(9), 2036;
Received: 9 April 2021 / Revised: 15 April 2021 / Accepted: 21 April 2021 / Published: 23 April 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Colorectal Cancers: From Present Problems to Future Solutions)
The role and function of bacteriophages (phages) in the intestine, its health and microbial homeostasis has been underestimated so far. This interdisciplinary review highlights the effect of dietary compounds on phages and puts this into perspective with putative contributions of phages to gastrointestinal diseases, specifically inflammation, infection, and cancer. The review discusses novel fields of opportunities in this context. These include, but are not limited to, perspectives how a better understanding of modulating the activity of specific phages by particular nutritional components may contribute to reorganizing the microbial network, thus supporting in the combat, or even prevention, of inflammation or even cancer in the gut.
Natural compounds such as essential oils and tea have been used successfully in naturopathy and folk medicine for hundreds of years. Current research is unveiling the molecular role of their antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer properties. Nevertheless, the effect of these compounds on bacteriophages is still poorly understood. The application of bacteriophages against bacteria has gained a particular interest in recent years due to, e.g., the constant rise of antimicrobial resistance to antibiotics, or an increasing awareness of different types of microbiota and their potential contribution to gastrointestinal diseases, including inflammatory and malignant conditions. Thus, a better knowledge of how dietary products can affect bacteriophages and, in turn, the whole gut microbiome can help maintain healthy homeostasis, reducing the risk of developing diseases such as diverse types of gastroenteritis, inflammatory bowel disease, or even cancer. The present review summarizes the effect of dietary compounds on the physiology of bacteriophages. In a majority of works, the substance class of polyphenols showed a particular activity against bacteriophages, and the primary mechanism of action involved structural damage of the capsid, inhibiting bacteriophage activity and infectivity. Some further dietary compounds such as caffeine, salt or oregano have been shown to induce or suppress prophages, whereas others, such as the natural sweeter stevia, promoted species-specific phage responses. A better understanding of how dietary compounds could selectively, and specifically, modulate the activity of individual phages opens the possibility to reorganize the microbial network as an additional strategy to support in the combat, or in prevention, of gastrointestinal diseases, including inflammation and cancer. View Full-Text
Keywords: Phage; bacteriophages; diet; infection; colorectal; cancer; nutrition Phage; bacteriophages; diet; infection; colorectal; cancer; nutrition
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MDPI and ACS Style

Marongiu, L.; Burkard, M.; Venturelli, S.; Allgayer, H. Dietary Modulation of Bacteriophages as an Additional Player in Inflammation and Cancer. Cancers 2021, 13, 2036.

AMA Style

Marongiu L, Burkard M, Venturelli S, Allgayer H. Dietary Modulation of Bacteriophages as an Additional Player in Inflammation and Cancer. Cancers. 2021; 13(9):2036.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Marongiu, Luigi, Markus Burkard, Sascha Venturelli, and Heike Allgayer. 2021. "Dietary Modulation of Bacteriophages as an Additional Player in Inflammation and Cancer" Cancers 13, no. 9: 2036.

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