Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) produced by fermentation from prebiotics not only provide energy but also activate cell membrane receptors, thereby contributing to the maintenance of homeostasis in the human body. Recently, free fatty acid receptor 2 (FFAR2), which uses SCFAs as ligands, was found to exert oncoprotective effects on several types of neoplasia. This study examined whether SCFAs have oncoprotective effects on uterine cervical neoplasia. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that FFAR2 was expressed in atypical cells and cancer cells of cervical neoplasia. Moreover, reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction showed that FFAR2 was expressed in a human cervical cancer cell line, HeLa. We also found that SCFAs inhibited the proliferation of HeLa cells, and a FFAR2 antagonist, GLPG0974, used to suppress the binding of SCFAs significantly restored the cell viability of HeLa cells blocked by acetic acid treatment. These results suggest that ingestion of prebiotics and the resulting production of SCFAs may play an oncoprotective role against uterine cervical neoplasia via FFAR2 expression.
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