Effects of dietary fat profile on gut permeability and microbiota and their relationships with metabolic changes in mice

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2015 Jul;23(7):1429-39. doi: 10.1002/oby.21122. Epub 2015 Jun 5.


Objective: To distinguish the effects of dietary fat profile on gut parameters and their relationships with metabolic changes and to determine the capacity of n-3 fatty acids to modify gut variables in the context of diet-induced metabolic dysfunctions.

Methods: Mice received control or high-fat diets emphasizing saturated (HFD-sat), n-6 (HFD-n6), or n-3 (HFD-n3) fatty acids for 8 weeks. In another cohort, mice that were maintained on HFD-sat received n-3-rich fish oil or resolvin D1 supplementation.

Results: HFD-sat and HFD-n6 induced similar weight gain, but only HFD-sat increased index of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), colonic permeability, and mesenteric fat inflammation. Hydrogen sulfide-producing bacteria were one of the major groups driving the diet-specific changes in gut microbiome, with the overall microbial profile being associated with changes in body weight, HOMA-IR, and gut permeability. In mice maintained on HFD-sat, fish oil and resolvin D1 restored barrier function and reduced inflammation in the colon but were unable to normalize HOMA-IR.

Conclusions: Different dietary fat profiles led to distinct intestinal and metabolic outcomes that are independent of obesity. Interventions targeting inflammation successfully restored gut health but did not reverse systemic aspects of diet-induced metabolic dysfunction, implicating separation between gut dysfunctions and disease-initiating and/or -maintaining processes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects*
  • Dietary Fats / metabolism*
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / drug effects*
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Intestines / microbiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Permeability
  • Weight Gain / drug effects


  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids