The combination of high-fat diet-induced obesity and chronic ulcerative colitis reciprocally exacerbates adipose tissue and colon inflammation

Lipids Health Dis. 2011 Nov 10;10:204. doi: 10.1186/1476-511X-10-204.


Background: This study evaluated the relationship between ulcerative colitis and obesity, which are both chronic diseases characterized by inflammation and increases in immune cells and pro-inflammatory cytokines.

Methods: Mice with chronic ulcerative colitis induced by 2 cycles of dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) in the first and fourth week of the experiment were fed a high-fat diet (HFD) to induce obesity by 8 weeks. The animals were divided into 4 \ groups (control, colitis, HFD and colitis + HFD).

Results: Obesity alone did not raise histopathology scores, but the combination of obesity and colitis worsened the scores in the colon compared to colitis group. Despite the reduction in weight gain, there was increased inflammatory infiltrate in both the colon and visceral adipose tissue of colitis + HFD mice due to increased infiltration of macrophages, neutrophils and lymphocytes. Intravital microscopy of VAT microvasculature showed an increase in leukocyte adhesion and rolling and overexpression of adhesion molecules compared to other groups. Moreover, circulating lymphocytes, monocytes and neutrophils in the spleen and cecal lymph nodes were increased in the colitis + HFD group.

Conclusion: Our results demonstrated the relationship between ulcerative colitis and obesity as aggravating factors for each disease, with increased inflammation in the colon and adipose tissue and systemic alterations observed in the spleen, lymph nodes and bloodstream.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipokines / blood
  • Adipose Tissue / blood supply
  • Adipose Tissue / pathology*
  • Adiposity
  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD / metabolism
  • Chemokines / metabolism
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / chemically induced*
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / complications*
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / pathology
  • Colon / pathology
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Dextran Sulfate
  • Diet, High-Fat
  • Epididymis / pathology
  • Gene Expression
  • Inflammation
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Microvessels / pathology
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Obesity / pathology
  • Receptors, Leptin / genetics
  • Receptors, Leptin / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes / pathology
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4 / genetics
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4 / metabolism


  • Adipokines
  • Antigens, CD
  • Chemokines
  • Cytokines
  • Receptors, Leptin
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4
  • Dextran Sulfate