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Deciphering the combinatorial influence of diet and the microbiota on experimental colitis

By Sean R. Llewellyn, Graham J Britton, Eduardo J. Contijoch, Arthur Mortha, Jean-Frederic Colombel, Ari Grinspan, Jose C. Clemente, Miriam Merad, Jeremiah J Faith

Posted 17 Mar 2017
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/117929 (published DOI: 10.1053/j.gastro.2017.11.030)

Background & Aims: The complex interactions between diet and the microbiota that influence mucosal inflammation and inflammatory bowel disease are poorly understood. Experimental colitis models provide the opportunity to control and systematically perturb diet and the microbiota in parallel to quantify the contributions between multiple dietary ingredients and the microbiota on host physiology and colitis. Methods: To examine the interplay of diet and the gut microbiota on host health and colitis, we fed over 40 different diets with varied macronutrient sources and concentrations to specific pathogen free or germ free mice either in the context of healthy, unchallenged animals or colitis models (dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) and T cell transfer). Results: Diet influenced physiology in both health and colitis across all models, with the concentration of protein and psyllium fiber having the most profound effects. Increasing dietary protein elevated gut microbial density and worsened DSS colitis severity. Depleting gut microbial density by using germ-free animals or antibiotics negated the effect of a high protein diet. Psyllium fiber influenced host physiology and attenuated colitis severity through microbiota-dependent and microbiota-independent mechanisms. Combinatorial perturbations to dietary protein and psyllium fiber in parallel explain most variation in gut microbial density, intestinal permeability, and DSS colitis severity, and changes in one ingredient can be offset by changes in the other. Conclusions: Our results demonstrate the importance of examining complex mixtures of nutrients to understand the role of diet in intestinal inflammation. Keywords IBD, Diet, Microbiota, Mouse Models, Systems biology

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