Composition of dietary fat source shapes gut microbiota architecture and alters host inflammatory mediators in mouse adipose tissue

JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2013 Nov;37(6):746-54. doi: 10.1177/0148607113486931. Epub 2013 May 2.


Background: Growing evidence shows that dietary factors can dramatically alter the gut microbiome in ways that contribute to metabolic disturbance and progression of obesity. In this regard, mesenteric adipose tissue has been implicated in mediating these processes through the elaboration of proinflammatory adipokines. In this study, we examined the relationship of these events by determining the effects of dietary fat content and source on gut microbiota, as well as the effects on adipokine profiles of mesenteric and peripheral adipocytes.

Methods: Adult male C57Bl/6 mice were fed milk fat-based, lard-based (saturated fatty acid sources), or safflower oil (polyunsaturated fatty acid)-based high-fat diets for 4 weeks. Body mass and food consumption were measured. Stool 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) was isolated and analyzed via terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism as well as variable V3-4 sequence tags via next-generation sequencing. Mesenteric and gonadal adipose samples were analyzed for both lipogenic and inflammatory mediators via quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction.

Results: High-fat feedings caused more weight gain with concomitant increases in caloric consumption relative to low-fat diets. In addition, each of the high-fat diets induced dramatic and specific 16S rRNA phylogenic profiles that were associated with different inflammatory and lipogenic mediator profiles of mesenteric and gonadal fat depots.

Conclusions: Our findings support the notion that dietary fat composition can both reshape the gut microbiota and alter host adipose tissue inflammatory/lipogenic profiles. They also demonstrate the interdependency of dietary fat source, commensal gut microbiota, and inflammatory profile of mesenteric fat that can collectively affect the host metabolic state.

Keywords: fatty acids; lipids; nutrition; obesity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipokines / metabolism
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Colon / microbiology
  • Diet, Fat-Restricted
  • Diet, High-Fat
  • Dietary Fats / adverse effects
  • Dietary Fats / pharmacology*
  • Energy Intake / drug effects*
  • Fatty Acids / adverse effects
  • Fatty Acids / pharmacology*
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Gonads / metabolism
  • Inflammation / etiology
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mesentery / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Microbiota* / genetics
  • Milk
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Obesity / microbiology*
  • Safflower Oil
  • Weight Gain / drug effects


  • Adipokines
  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Safflower Oil
  • lard