The interaction of a high-fat diet and regular moderate intensity exercise on intestinal polyp development in Apc Min/+ mice.


  • 1Department of Exercise Science, University of South Carolina, 921 Assembly Street, Columbia, SC 29208, USA.


Diet and exercise are two environmental factors that can alter colon cancer risk. The purpose of this study was to determine if regular moderate-intensity treadmill exercise training could attenuate polyp formation in Apc(Min/+) mice fed the Western-style diet. Four-week-old male Apc(Min/+) mice (n = 12 per group) were assigned to AIN-76A Control, AIN-76A Exercise, Western Control, or Western Exercise treatment groups.

Mice were weaned to these diets and either subjected to regular moderate-intensity treadmill exercise (18 m/min, 60 min/d, 6 d/wk) or remained sedentary for 6 weeks. Mice fed the Western-style diet consumed approximately 14% more calories and had 42% more epididymal fat compared with mice fed the AIN-76A diet.

Exercise had no effect on fat pad mass with either diet treatment. Exercise reduced total intestinal polyp number by 50% and the number of large polyps (>1 mm diameter) by 67% in AIN-76A-fed mice. The Western-style diet increased polyp number by 75% when compared with AIN-76A-fed mice, but exercise did not decrease polyp number or alter polyp size in mice fed the Western-style diet.

Markers of systemic inflammation and immune system function were improved with exercise in mice fed the AIN-76A diet. Mice fed the Western-style diet showed more inflammation and immunosuppression, which were not completely ameliorated by exercise. These data suggest that the induction of adiposity, inflammation, and immunosuppression by the Western-style diet may compromise the beneficial effect of moderate-intensity exercise on the intestinal polyp burden in Apc(Min/+) mice.

colon cancer mouse model