Diet-induced expansion of pathobionts in experimental colitis: implications for tailored therapies

Gut Microbes. 2013 Mar-Apr;4(2):172-4. doi: 10.4161/gmic.23589. Epub 2013 Jan 18.


Evidence presented in our recent study and elsewhere suggests that the interplay of dietary macronutrients with the intestinal lumen alters the microbial environment, and thus host-microbe interactions, in ways that are not always in a favorable, mutualistic fashion. Specifically, in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), experimental and clinical observations have implicated a detrimental impact of environmental/microbial factors on the etiopathogenesis of IBD in individuals with a background of genetic susceptibility to the disease. Thus, now more than ever, we are realizing that specific intestinal microbes can metabolize and react to a wide array of dietary compositions that, in turn, markedly alter microbial populations. We aimed to understand if certain dietary fats that are prevalent in Western diets are capable of precipitating colonic inflammation through their actions on the enteric microbiota. On a background of genetic susceptibility, these microbial changes can impact host immune homeostasis and increase risk for disease. Here we elaborate on our findings and their potential implications for future medical care.

Keywords: bile acids; colitis; diet; inflammation; microbiota; pathobiont; therapeutics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biota*
  • Colitis / microbiology*
  • Diet / methods*
  • Dietary Fats / metabolism*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology*
  • Humans


  • Dietary Fats