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Investigating the Effect of Sugar Alternatives on U87 Human Derived Glioblastoma Cell Survival and Proliferation

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Dominic D'Agostino

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The Ketogenic Diet (KD) is currently being investigated as an adjuvant cancer therapy. This high-fat, low-carbohydrate, moderate-protein diet is thought to work in part by reducing glucose availability for cancer cells, a key substrate in their growth and proliferation. With a growing number of clinical trials seeking to understand the effects of KDs on cancer patients, it is important to study potential confounding factors that may complicate KD use in a clinical setting. Sugar Alternatives (SA) are commonly used in KD recipes wishing to mimic sugar-based products, but little is known about their individual effects on cancer growth and proliferation. Recent research suggests erythritol may enhance growth at low, near-physiological concentrations, but may elicit an inhibitory effect at high concentrations.

U87 human glioblastoma cells were seeded at 15,000 per well and cultured for 7 days in 2mL of 5mM glucose, 5mM glutamine Dulbecco's Modified Eagle's Medium with or without 25mM of saccharin, sucralose, aspartame, erythritol, stevia, or allulose added as treatment. Each treatment had an n=4. 0, 5, and 25mM glucose and 5mM glutamine containing DMEM served as controls, with an n=6. Cell survival and proliferation were assessed via live/dead staining and hemocytometry on day 8. Pilot study limitations led to inconclusive data, however, protocol optimization including increasing seeding number, addressing aspartame solubility issues, and addressing poly-D-lysine issues is ongoing.

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Investigating the Effect of Sugar Alternatives on U87 Human Derived Glioblastoma Cell Survival and Proliferation

The Ketogenic Diet (KD) is currently being investigated as an adjuvant cancer therapy. This high-fat, low-carbohydrate, moderate-protein diet is thought to work in part by reducing glucose availability for cancer cells, a key substrate in their growth and proliferation. With a growing number of clinical trials seeking to understand the effects of KDs on cancer patients, it is important to study potential confounding factors that may complicate KD use in a clinical setting. Sugar Alternatives (SA) are commonly used in KD recipes wishing to mimic sugar-based products, but little is known about their individual effects on cancer growth and proliferation. Recent research suggests erythritol may enhance growth at low, near-physiological concentrations, but may elicit an inhibitory effect at high concentrations.

U87 human glioblastoma cells were seeded at 15,000 per well and cultured for 7 days in 2mL of 5mM glucose, 5mM glutamine Dulbecco's Modified Eagle's Medium with or without 25mM of saccharin, sucralose, aspartame, erythritol, stevia, or allulose added as treatment. Each treatment had an n=4. 0, 5, and 25mM glucose and 5mM glutamine containing DMEM served as controls, with an n=6. Cell survival and proliferation were assessed via live/dead staining and hemocytometry on day 8. Pilot study limitations led to inconclusive data, however, protocol optimization including increasing seeding number, addressing aspartame solubility issues, and addressing poly-D-lysine issues is ongoing.