The effect of geometrical isomerism of dietary fats on colon tumorigenesis was studied in male and female rats of a strain prone to colon cancer (Wistar-Furth-Osaka). The rats were fed purified diets containing either partially hydrogenated corn oil (trans fat) or high-oleic safflower (cis fat) at the 5% level for one week and received a single oral dose of 1,2-dimethylhydrazine. The difference in the fatty acid composition of dietary fats was confined solely to the geometry of octadecenoate. An appropriate level of linoleic acid (2% of total energy) was supplied. After about 60 weeks, neither fat-type nor sex-dependent differences in the incidence of colon and small intestinal tumors was observed. The fecal excretion of neutral but not acidic steroids was higher in male rats fed the trans fat than in those fed the cis fat, but the composition remained almost unchanged. Aortic production of prostacyclin and the plasma concentration of thromboxane B2 were not influenced by dietary fats, although these were significantly higher in females, irregardless of the fat source. Thus, trans fat behaved much like the cis fat in various parameters, except for steroid excretion.
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