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Common toothpaste ingredient may up colon cancer risk: study

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

A common antimicrobial ingredient triclosan, found in hand soaps and toothpastes, may alter gut bacteria and increase the risk of colon cancer, a study has found.

The study, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, suggests that short-time treatment with low-dose caused colonic inflammation, and exaggerated development of and colitis-associated in mice.

"These results, for the first time, suggest that could have adverse effects on gut health," said Guodong Zhang from the in the US.

is among the most widely used antimicrobial ingredients and is found in more than 2,000 consumer products, researchers said.

"Because this compound is so widely used, our study suggests that there is an urgent need to further evaluate the impact of triclosan exposure on gut in preparation for the potential establishment of further regulatory policies," said Haixia Yang, a postdoctoral fellow in

Researchers investigated the effects of triclosan on and using several mouse models. In all mouse models tested, triclosan promoted and colon tumorigenesis.

"In particular, we used a genetically engineered mouse model which develops spontaneous inflammatory bowel or IBD," said scientist

"Also, treatment with triclosan significantly increased development of in the mice, suggesting that patients may need to reduce exposure to this compound," Xiao said.

In a series of experiments designed to explore mechanisms, the research team found that gut microbiota is critical for the observed adverse effects of triclosan.

Feeding triclosan to mice reduced the diversity and changed the composition of the gut microbiome, a result similar to what was observed in a human study conducted by others, Zhang said.

Also, triclosan had no effect in a germ-free mouse model where there is no gut microbiome present, nor in a genetically engineered mouse model where there is no Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) - an important mediator for

"This is strong evidence that gut microbiota is required for the biological effects of triclosan" Zhang said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, May 31 2018. 16:55 IST