This study investigated the preventive effects of vinegar and acetic acid (the active component of vinegar) on ulcerative colitis (UC) in mice. Vinegar (5% v/v) or acetic acid (0.3% w/v) treatment significantly reduced the disease activity index and histopathological scores, attenuated body weight loss, and shortened the colon length in a murine experimental colitis model induced by dextran sulfate sodium (DSS). Further mechanistic analysis showed that vinegar inhibited inflammation through suppressing Th1 and Th17 responses, the NLRP3 inflammasome, and MAPK signaling activation. Vinegar also inhibited endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-mediated apoptosis in the colitis mouse model. Surprisingly, pretreatment with vinegar for 28 days before DSS induction increased levels of the commensal lactic acid-producing or acetic acid-producing bacteria, including Lactobacillus, Bifidobacteria, and Enterococcus faecalis, whereas decreased Escherichia coli levels were found in the feces of mice. These results suggest that vinegar supplementation might provide a new dietary strategy for the prevention of UC.
Keywords: apoptosis; colitis; inflammation; intestinal microbiota; vinegar.