Research ArticlePUBLIC HEALTH

A common antimicrobial additive increases colonic inflammation and colitis-associated colon tumorigenesis in mice

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Science Translational Medicine  30 May 2018:
Vol. 10, Issue 443, eaan4116
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aan4116

Triclosan triggers inflammation

Antimicrobials are ubiquitous in manufactured products beyond hand soap and exist in the environment as pollutants. Triclosan exposure is practically unavoidable in the United States, but little is known how ingestion may affect our health. Yang and colleagues used mouse models of colitis and colon cancer to see how brief exposures of triclosan could affect inflammation. They observed that triclosan altered mouse gut microbiota and increased inflammation in a TLR4-dependent manner. Triclosan increased the severity of colitis symptoms and spurred colitis-associated colon cancer cell growth. Although the study is limited to mouse models, this work suggests that the effects of triclosan on human health should be examined more closely.