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Overexpression of Fatty Acid Synthase in Ulcerative Colitis

Adriana Consolazio MD, Piero Luigi Alò MD, Margherita Rivera MD, Federico Iacopini MD, Omero Alessandro Paoluzi MD, Pietro Crispino MD, Roberta Pica MD, Paolo Paoluzi MD
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1309/PUBVQNDNVQKJVC8M 113-118 First published online: 1 July 2006


Fatty acid synthase (FAS) is an enzyme that catalyzes the synthesis of long-chain fatty acids. The enzyme expression is minimal in adult tissues and very high in many cancers. Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that, when long-standing, is associated with an increased risk of colon cancer. The aim of the present study was to establish whether FAS levels in the mucosa without dysplasia of patients with long-standing ulcerative colitis were higher than in control subjects.

Three groups of patients were selected: 30 with active ulcerative colitis, 30 with ulcerative colitis in remission, and 30 undergoing colonoscopy for colorectal cancer screening, as healthy control subjects. FAS expression was evaluated with immunohisto-chemical procedures. The enzyme was detected in all patients with active colitis, in most patients with quiescent disease, in both pathologic and normal mucosa, but in only 3 healthy control subjects. Our results suggest that extension of ulcerative colitis is greater than that revealed by common diagnostic techniques.

Key Words:
  • Fatty acid synthase
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Inflammation