CACO-2 cells as a model to study the intestinal effects of non-absorbable phytochemicals

A. G. Erlejman, C. G. Fraga, P. I. Oteiza

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Diets rich in fruits and vegetables are associated with a lower risk for colorectal cancer (CRC). Fruits and vegetables contain procyanidins, oligomers of flavan-3-ols that are among the most abundant polyphenols in human diets. Large procyanidins, i.e. composed of more than 3 monomer units (LPCA), are not transported inside cells. However, LPCA could act at the gastrointestinal level preventing chronic inflammation and the associated increased risk to develop CRC. CACO-2 cells is the model of intestinal epithelium that we have used to study the mechanisms through which LPCA could act protecting the integrity of the intestinal epithelial barrier, preventing oxidation and the triggering of inflammatory signals.We observed that LPCA bind to the plasmatic membrane and protect CACO-2 cells from oxidants, from the cytotoxic effects of deoxycholic acid (DCA), a secondary bile acid, and from inflammatory molecules, i.e. tumor necrosis alpha (TNFa). Mechanistically, it is plausible that LPCA act through: a) their free radical scavenging capacity; b) their direct interaction with membranes lipids, causing changes in membrane biophysics that would affect the activity of membrane-associated processes; and c) their interaction with membrane receptors that trigger intracellular responses. In summary, CACO-2 cells have proved to be an excellent model to study the beneficial health effects of the non-absorbable LPCA. These findings further support the use of CACO-2 cells to identify the mechanisms of the intestinal actions of food components and/or pharmacological agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCACO-2 Cells and Their Uses
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9781612099170
StatePublished - Mar 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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