Oat consumption reduced intestinal fat deposition and improved health span in Caenorhabditis elegans model

Nutr Res. 2015 Sep;35(9):834-43. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2015.06.007. Epub 2015 Jun 30.


In addition to their fermentable dietary fiber and the soluble β-glucan fiber, oats have unique avenanthramides that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that reduce coronary heart disease in human clinical trials. We hypothesized that oat consumption will increase insulin sensitivity, reduce body fat, and improve health span in Caenorhabditis elegans through a mechanism involving the daf-2 gene, which codes for the insulin/insulin-like growth factor-1-like receptor, and that hyperglycemia will attenuate these changes. Caenorhabditis elegans wild type (N2) and the null strains sir-2.1, daf-16, and daf-16/daf-2 were fed Escherichia coli (OP50) and oat flakes (0.5%, 1.0%, or 3%) with and without 2% glucose. Oat feeding decreased intestinal fat deposition in N2, daf-16, or daf-16/daf-2 strains (P < .05); and glucose did not affect intestinal fat deposition response. The N2, daf-16, or sir-2.1 mutant increased the pharyngeal pumping rate (P < .05), a surrogate marker of life span, following oat consumption. Oat consumption increased ckr-1, gcy-8, cpt-1, and cpt-2 mRNA expression in both the N2 and the sir-2.1 mutant, with significantly higher expression in sir-2.1 than in N2 (P < .01). Additional glucose further increased expression 1.5-fold of the 4 genes in N2 (P < .01), decreased the expression of all except cpt-1 in the daf-16 mutant, and reduced mRNA expression of the 4 genes in the daf-16/daf-2 mutant (P < .01). These data suggest that oat consumption reduced fat storage and increased ckr-1, gcy-8, cpt-1, or cpt-2 through the sir-2.1 genetic pathway. Oat consumption may be a beneficial dietary intervention for reducing fat accumulation, augmenting health span, and improving hyperglycemia-impaired lipid metabolism.

Keywords: C elegans model; Health span; Insulin sensitivity; Lipid metabolism; Oats.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / drug effects*
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Avena / chemistry*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / genetics
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / metabolism
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Fiber / pharmacology
  • Edible Grain / chemistry
  • Functional Food
  • Glucose / administration & dosage
  • Hyperglycemia / complications
  • Hyperglycemia / metabolism
  • Insulin / genetics
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / genetics
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / metabolism*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Intestines / drug effects*
  • Longevity / drug effects*
  • Plant Preparations / pharmacology
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Receptor, Insulin / blood
  • Sirtuins / genetics
  • Sirtuins / metabolism
  • beta-Glucans / pharmacology
  • ortho-Aminobenzoates / pharmacology


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Insulin
  • Plant Preparations
  • RNA, Messenger
  • beta-Glucans
  • ortho-Aminobenzoates
  • avenanthramide-2C
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Receptor, Insulin
  • Sirtuins
  • Glucose