Butyrate modulating effects on pro-inflammatory pathways in human intestinal epithelial cells

Benef Microbes. 2017 Oct 13;8(5):841-847. doi: 10.3920/BM2016.0197. Epub 2017 Aug 31.


Butyrate acts as energy source for intestinal epithelial cells and as key mediator of several immune processes, modulating gene expression mainly through histone deacetylation inhibition. Thanks to these effects, butyrate has been proposed for the treatment of many intestinal diseases. Aim of this study was to investigate the effect of butyrate on the expression of a large series of target genes encoding proteins involved in pro-inflammatory pathways. We performed quantitative real-time-PCR analysis of the expression of 86 genes encoding proteins bearing to pro-inflammatory pathways, before and after butyrate exposure, in primary epithelial cells derived from human small intestine and colon. Butyrate significantly down-regulated the expression of genes involved in inflammatory response, among which nuclear factor kappa beta, interferon-gamma, Toll like 2 receptor and tumour necrosis factor-alpha. Further confirmations of these data, including studies at protein level, would support the use of butyrate as effective therapeutic strategy in intestinal inflammatory disorders.

Keywords: inflammation; membrane carrier; short chain fatty acids.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / metabolism*
  • Butyrates / metabolism*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Colon / immunology
  • Epithelial Cells / drug effects*
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / analysis*
  • Intestine, Small / immunology
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Butyrates
  • Immunologic Factors