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 triclosan caused colonic inflammation, and exaggerated disease development of colitis and colitis-associated colon cancer in mice.
Triclosan 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 health in preparation for the potential establishment of further regulatory policies," said Haixia Yang, a postdoctoral fellow in Zhang laboratory.
Researchers investigated the effects of triclosan on colonic inflammation and colon cancer using several mouse models. In all mouse models tested, triclosan promoted colonic inflammation and colon tumorigenesis.
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 host-microbiota communications.
"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.)