Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common neoplasia in Europe, where it accounts for 28.2 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants. In an effort to decrease the incidence of this disease, various prevention measures are being studied, one of which are anthocyanin-rich foods. Anthocyanins are potent antioxidant flavonoids mainly found in flowers and colorful fruits and vegetables. These nutraceuticals have diverse biological functions once ingested, including immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory and antitumor functions. In order to test the preventive effect of these flavonoids against colorectal cancer, an animal model (Rattus norvegicus
F344) was developed. In this model two doses of azoxymethane (10 mg/kg) and two treatments with dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) were administered to the animals. For 20 weeks they were fed either control rat feed, control sausages, or functional sausages containing 0.1% (w/w
) of anthocyanins from a mixture of dehydrated blackberries and strawberries. At the end of that period, the animals were sacrificed and their antioxidant plasma levels and digestive tract tissues were analyzed. The results revealed a statistically significant reduction in the number of colon tumors in the functional sausages cohort with respect to the control animals and an increase in the FRAP (ferric reducing ability of plasma) total antioxidant activity in that same cohort. Colon microbiota differences were also examined via metagenomics 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) sequencing, revealing a significant reduction in populations of the pro-inflammatory Bilophila wadsworthia
. Therefore, the design of functional processed meat products, such as ones enriched with anthocyanins, may be an effective strategy for preventing inflammatory digestive diseases and colorectal cancer in human populations.
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