Food and Behaviour Research

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A high-sugar diet rapidly enhances susceptibility to colitis via depletion of luminal short-chain fatty acids in mice

Laffin M, Fedorak R, Zalasky A, Park H, Gill A, Agrawal A, Keshteli A, Hotte N, Madsen KL (2019) Sci Rep.  2019 Aug;9(1): 12294. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-48749-2. 

Web URL: Read this and related abstracts on PubMed here


Western-style diets have been implicated in triggering inflammatory bowel disease activity. The aim of this study was to identify the effect of a short-term diet high in sugar on susceptibility to colitis.

Adult wild-type 
mice were placed on chow or a high sugar diet (50% sucrose) ± acetate. After two days of dietmice were treated with dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) to induce colitis. Disease severity was assessed daily. Colonic tissues were analyzed for cytokine expression using the MesoScale discovery platform. Intestinal dextran permeability and serum lipopolysaccharide levels (LPS) were measured. Gut microbiota were analyzed by 16s rRNA sequencing and short chain fatty acid (SCFA) concentrations by gas chromatography. Bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDM) were incubated with LPS and cytokine secretion measured.

Mice on a high sugar diet had increased gut permeability, decreased microbial diversity and reduced SCFA.

BMDM derived from 
high sugar fed mice were highly responsive to LPS. High sugar fed mice had increased susceptibility to colitis and pro-inflammatory cytokine concentrations. Oral acetate significantly attenuated colitis in mice by restoring permeability.

In conclusion, short term exposure to a 
high sugar diet increases susceptibility to colitis by reducing short-chain fatty acids and increasing gut permeability.


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