mBio. 2021 Oct 12:e0214821. doi: 10.1128/mBio.02148-21. Online ahead of print.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a type of immune-mediated chronic and relapsing inflammatory gastrointestinal symptoms. IBD cannot be completely cured because of the complex pathogenesis. Glycerol monolaurate (GML), naturally found in breast milk and coconut oil, has excellent antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and immunoregulatory functions. Here, the protective effect of GML on dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-induced mouse colitis and the underlying gut microbiota-dependent mechanism were assessed in C57BL/6 mice pretreated or cotreated with GML and in antibiotic-treated mice transplanted with GML-modulated microbiota. Results showed that GML pretreatment has an advantage over GML cotreatment in alleviating weight loss and reducing disease activity index (DAI), colonic histological scores, and proinflammatory responses. Moreover, the amounts of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium and fecal propionic acid and butyric acid were elevated only in mice pretreated with GML upon DSS induction. Of note, fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) from GML-pretreated mice achieved faster and more significant remission of DSS-induced colitis, manifested as reduced DAI, longer colon, decreased histological scores, and enhanced colonic Foxp3+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) and ratio of serum anti-inflammatory/proinflammatory cytokines, as well as the reconstruction of microbial communities, including elevated Helicobacter ganmani and decreased pathogenic microbes. In conclusion, GML-mediated enhancement of Bifidobacterium and fecal short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) could be responsible for the anticolitis effect. FMT assay confirmed that gut microbiota modulated by GML was more resistant to DSS-induced colitis via elevating beneficial H. ganmani and establishing Treg tolerant phenotype. Importantly, colitis remission induced by GML is associated with novel gut microbiota patterns, even though different microbial contexts were involved. IMPORTANCE The gut microbiota, which can be highly and dynamically affected by dietary components, is closely related to IBD pathogenesis. Here, we demonstrated that food-grade glycerol monolaurate (GML)-mediated enhancement of Bifidobacterium and fecal SCFAs could be responsible for the anticolitis effect. FMT assay confirmed that gut microbiota modulated by GML was more resistant to DSS-induced colitis via elevating beneficial H. ganmani and establishing Treg tolerant phenotype. Collectively, colitis remission induced by GML is associated with novel gut microbiota patterns, even though different microbial contexts were involved, which further provided a perspective to identify specific microbial members and those responsible for the anticolitis effect, such as Bifidobacterium and Helicobacter.
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