Dietary milk fat globule membrane reduces the incidence of aberrant crypt foci in Fischer-344 rats.
ABSTRACT Milk fat globule membrane (MFGM) is a biopolymer composed primarily of membrane proteins and lipids that surround the fat globules in milk. Although it is considered to have potential as a bioactive ingredient, few feeding studies have been conducted to measure its potential benefits. The aim of this investigation was to determine if dietary MFGM confers protection against colon carcinogenesis compared to diets containing corn oil (CO) or anhydrous milk fat (AMF). Male, weanling Fischer-344 rats were randomly assigned to one of three dietary treatments that differed only in the fat source: (1) AIN-76A diet, corn oil; (2) AIN-76A diet, AMF; and (3) AIN-76A diet, 50% MFGM, 50% AMF. Each diet contained 50 g/kg diet of fat. With the exception of the fat source, diets were formulated to be identical in macro and micro nutrient content. Animals were injected with 1,2-dimethylhydrazine once per week at weeks 3 and 4, and fed experimental diets for a total of 13 weeks. Over the course of the study dietary treatment did not affect food consumption, weight gain or body composition. After 13 weeks animals were sacrificed, colons were removed and aberrant crypt foci (ACF) were counted by microscopy. Rats fed the MFGM diet (n = 16) had significantly fewer ACF (20.9 +/- 5.7) compared to rats fed corn oil (n = 17) or AMF (n = 16) diets (31.3 +/- 9.5 and 29.8 +/- 11.4 respectively; P < 0.05). Gene expression analysis of colonic mucosa did not reveal differential expression of candidate colon cancer genes, and the sphingolipid profile of the colonic mucosa was not affected by diet. While there were notable and significant differences in plasma and red blood cell lipids, there was no relationship to the cancer protection. These results support previous findings that dietary sphingolipids are protective against colon carcinogenesis yet extend this finding to MFGM, a milk fat fraction available as a food ingredient.