Introduction: To date, the ketogenic diet (KD) has been shown to improve certain health conditions such as seizure. These positive effects have been partly mediated through the gut microbiome. However, research on KD’s impact on colorectal cancer (CRC) and the gut microbiome of cancer patients that use KD has been scant. This study aims to investigate the role of KD in the co-evolution of gut microbial composition and CRC progression. We hypothesize that KD alters overall species diversity through either elimination of harmful bacterial genera or perpetuation of beneficial gut microbiota which could ultimately be the mechanism underlying positive CRC outcomes.
Methods: In order to test this hypothesis, we propose a murine study using ApcMin/+ (multiple intestinal neoplasia) CRC mouse models in C57BL/6J background. The mice will either be given normal chow (control group) or KD (87% fat) for
8 weeks. Mice will be euthanized at the end of the experiment and analyzed in terms of polyp size and polyp number in the small intestine and colon. Frozen colon tissue will also be used to extract mRNA for quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) analysis of TH17 cytokine production. Gut microbiome composition will be analyzed by sequencing of 16S rRNA genes. To compare microbiome structure between diet groups, alpha diversity will be used to measure the differences in gut microbial structure in the control and experimental groups.
Results: We would expect that mice fed a KD would have altered microbiota diversity, a decreased level of cytokine production, as well as fewer and smaller polyps (as measured in the small intestine and colon).
Discussion: Analysis of the gut microbiota post-treatment, in conjunction with assessment of cytokine levels will help to set correlations between microbial gut activity and CRC progression.
Conclusion: The results of this experiment could give insight into the impact of KD on development and progression of CRC; which could be used to develop therapeutic or dietary interventions.
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