• It has been suggested that relative depolarization of the cell membrane occurs during carcinogenesis. A study was undertaken to determine the effect on the colonic transmural potential difference in CF1 mice following the administration of a carcinogen, a cytotoxic agent, and bile acids. Depolarization of the distal colonic mucosa was seen in mice treated with the carcinogen but not with the cytotoxic agent, and bile acids caused further depolarization of the mucosa. These experiments support the hypothesis that epithelial depolarization is a putative mechanism in carcinogenesis, which could have important implications for the early detection of colon cancer.
(Arch Surg 1986;121:345-350)