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Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Dec 08, 2023  2 months, 3 weeks, 3 days, 42 minutes ago

Medical News: University Of Toronto Study Finds That Flaxseed Can Reduce Risk Of Breast Cancer Via Modulating Gut Microbiota And Mammary Gland miRNAs!

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Medical News: University Of Toronto Study Finds That Flaxseed Can Reduce Risk Of Breast Cancer Via Modulating Gut Microbiota And Mammary Gland miRNAs!
Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Dec 08, 2023  2 months, 3 weeks, 3 days, 42 minutes ago
Medical News: In a groundbreaking development, researchers from the University of Toronto's Faculty of Medicine in Canada have unveiled a compelling link between flaxseed consumption, modulation of gut microbiota, and a reduced risk of breast cancer. The study covered in this Medical News report, spearheaded by Dr Elena M. Comelli, an Associate Professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences and the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, sheds light on how components of flaxseed, particularly lignans, influence the intricate relationship between gut microorganisms and the expression of microRNAs (miRNAs) in the mammary gland.

Lifestyle and Dietary Choices in Human Health
Historically, lifestyle and dietary choices have been recognized as pivotal factors in determining human health. This latest research delves into the potential of flaxseed to modify the gut microbiome, highlighting its role in influencing miRNA profiles in the mammary gland. MiRNAs, short noncoding RNAs, play a crucial role in regulating gene expression, specifically targeting the 3' untranslated region of mRNAs. Some of these miRNAs control genes associated with breast cancer, including those governing cell proliferation and migration.
Significance of the Gastrointestinal Microbiota
Dr Comelli emphasizes the significance of the gastrointestinal microbiota in modifying dietary components, stating, "The gastrointestinal microbiota plays an important role in modifying many components of our diet to impact human health." The study establishes correlations between diets enriched in flaxseed, cecal microbiota composition, and miRNA profiles in the mammary gland, particularly those involved in cancer development. This preliminary research advocates further exploration of the microbiota's role in dietary interventions to mitigate risk factors linked to diseases, especially breast cancer.
Unraveling the Effects: Study Methodology
The research methodology involved studying the effects of flaxseed lignans on the microbiota of young female mice. Lignans, present in various foods and abundant in flaxseed, have previously shown associations with reduced breast cancer mortality in postmenopausal women. The study identified specific miRNA responses in the mammary gland triggered by lignan components, indicating a potential avenue for reducing breast cancer risk.
Manipulating the Microbiota-mammary Gland miRNA Relationship
To investigate whether the microbiota-mammary gland miRNA relationship could be manipulated to lower breast cancer risk, the researchers fed flaxseed lignan components to female mice. The cecum, the initial part of the colon, was the focus, given its role in producing short-chain fatty acids and serving as a reservoir of anaerobic bacteria. Notably, one flaxseed oil lignan requires microbial processing to release bioactive metabolites, which, in this case, exhibited antitumor effects. The study demonstrated a significant connection between the microbiota and mammary gland miRNA, with flaxseed lignans modifying this relationship to a non-cancer-causing state.
ng>New Target for Breast Cancer Prevention
Dr Comelli asserts, "If these findings are confirmed, the microbiota becomes a new target to prevent breast cancer through dietary intervention." The study's abstract, titled "Cecal microbiota and mammary gland microRNA signatures are related and modifiable by dietary flaxseed with implications for breast cancer risk," emphasizes the importance of exploring dietary approaches, including flaxseed and its components, in mitigating breast cancer risk.
Breast Cancer and Dietary Interventions
Breast cancer, a leading cause of cancer mortality worldwide, has prompted a growing interest in dietary interventions such as flaxseed. The study emphasizes the relevance of pubertal processes and lifestyle, including diet, in maintaining breast health throughout life. While the exact mechanisms are not fully understood, the research unveils a connection between mammary gland miRNA expression and the gut microbiota in young female mice, offering a potential avenue for breast cancer prevention.
Gut Microbiota's Role in Breast Health
The gut microbiota, a vast community of microorganisms, plays a crucial role in utilizing dietary components to produce bioavailable metabolites that impact host health. Flaxseed's role in the gut-breast axis exemplifies this concept, with lignans like secoisolariciresinol diglucoside (SDG) requiring microbial processing to release bioactive metabolites. The study highlights positive associations between dietary lignans and microbial taxa, further emphasizing the potential role of the gut microbiota in breast health.
Composition and Benefits of Flaxseed
Apart from lignans, flaxseed is a rich source of fiber, protein, and oil (FSO), each with its own set of potential health benefits. Fiber and oil from flaxseed have demonstrated the ability to influence microbiota composition in the gut. Flaxseed oil, in particular, contains alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a compound associated with delaying mammary tumor onset and reducing tumor growth and proliferation. This multifaceted composition of flaxseed suggests that its breast anticancer properties may stem from the combined action of its various components.
MiRNA Modulation and Epigenetic Regulation
The study's findings reveal that flaxseed, flaxseed oil, and SDG, when provided in equal amounts as in whole flaxseed, elicit specific miRNA responses in the mammary gland. MiRNAs, acting as epigenetic regulators of transcription, are believed to control up to 90% of all genes by targeting the 3' untranslated region of mRNAs. The modulation of miRNA expression emerges as a potential mechanism underlying the host's response to metabolic signals, including those generated by microbial metabolites.
Utilizing Data from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA)
The research team leveraged data from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) to demonstrate altered miRNA expression in breast cancer in humans. The study suggests that miRNAs involved in the relationships between gut microbiota and mammary gland miRNAs may be altered in human breast cancer. This realization underscores the role of the gut microbiome as a modulator and potential target for interventions aimed at reducing breast cancer risk.
Gut Microbiota and Mammary Gland miRNA Correlations
Intriguingly, the study dives deeper into the role of specific microbiota-miRNA relationships and how dietary interventions, such as flaxseed consumption, interact to affect them. The researchers identified correlations between cecal microbiota and mammary gland miRNA expressions and sought to determine if these relationships could be modified by dietary flaxseed. The results revealed that flaxseed lignans, particularly SDG, altered the microbiota-mammary gland miRNA relationships toward an anti-oncogenic phenotype.

Unraveling Molecular Pathways
To unravel the complex interplay between the gut microbiota and mammary gland miRNA, the researchers conducted an in-depth analysis using microbiota and miRNA data from mice on various diets. The study identified significant correlations between cecal microbial taxa and mammary gland miRNA expressions, providing a crucial link between the gut and distal organs.
Roles of Flaxseed Oil and SDG
Furthermore, the study explored the distinct roles of flaxseed oil and SDG in the observed effects. The microbiota-miRNA correlations changed uniquely in response to flaxseed oil and SDG, indicating that these components contribute differently to the overall effects of whole flaxseed. The study suggests that flaxseed oil and SDG act through different physiological pathways, with flaxseed oil affecting pathways related to extracellular matrix processing and collagen synthesis, while SDG impacts pathways associated with starvation autophagy, CREB3 factors, and mTOR signaling.
Downstream Effects: PI3K-Akt-mTOR Pathway
The enrichment of pathways related to the PI3K-Akt-mTOR pathway in response to flaxseed consumption unveils potential downstream effects that may contribute to the observed anti-breast cancer properties. Understanding these molecular pathways provides a basis for further investigations into the mechanisms through which flaxseed modulates breast health and cancer risk.
Conclusion: Paving the Way for Targeted Dietary Strategies
In conclusion, the University of Toronto's research marks a significant stride in comprehending the intricate connections between diet, gut microbiota, and breast health. The study's findings underscore the potential of flaxseed in modifying microbiota-miRNA relationships, offering a promising avenue for breast cancer prevention through dietary interventions. As scientific exploration advances, these insights may pave the way for targeted dietary strategies aimed at reducing breast cancer risk, ultimately contributing to improved women's health globally.
The study findings were published in the peer reviewed journal: Microbiology Spectrum
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