The inextricable link between a high cholesterol diet and colon cancer

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In a study of mice, scientists from the University of California, Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine found that raising cholesterol levels in animals caused intestinal stem cells to divide faster, increasing tumor formation by 100 times. This study identified a molecular pathway that could serve as a new drug target for colon cancer treatment.

Cholesterol affects the growth of intestinal stem cells, which in turn accelerates the formation of tumors by more than 100 times. Although the link between cholesterol in the diet and colon cancer has been established, no one has previously explained the mechanism behind it. Scientists increased cholesterol in some intestinal stem cells of mice by introducing more substances into the diet. In another study, the researchers changed a gene that regulates phospholipids, which are the main type of fat in cell membranes, prompting cells to produce more cholesterol themselves.

Stem cells have increased reproductive capacity in both groups. As cholesterol levels increase, their cells divide more rapidly, making the intestines longer, and these changes significantly accelerate the rate of tumor formation in the colon.

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