Maillard reaction products from highly heated food prevent mast cell number increase and inflammation in a mouse model of colitis

Nutr Res. 2017 Dec;48:26-32. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2017.10.005. Epub 2017 Oct 10.


Links between food and inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) are often suggested, but the role of food processing has not been extensively studied. Heat treatment is known to cause the loss of nutrients and the appearance of neoformed compounds such as Maillard reaction products. Their involvement in gut inflammation is equivocal, as some may have proinflammatory effects, whereas other seem to be protective. As IBDs are associated with the recruitment of immune cells, including mast cells, we raised the hypothesis that dietary Maillard reaction products generated through heat treatment of food may limit the colitic response and its associated recruitment of mast cells. An experimental model of colitis was used in mice submitted to mildly and highly heated rodent food. Adult male mice were divided in 3 groups and received nonheated, mildly heated, or highly heated chow during 21 days. In the last week of the study, each group was split into 2 subgroups, submitted or not (controls) to dextran sulfate sodium (DSS) colitis. Weight variations, macroscopic lesions, colonic myeloperoxidase activity, and mucosal mast cell number were evaluated at the end of the experiment. Only highly heated chow significantly prevented DSS-induced weight loss, myeloperoxidase activity, and mast cell number increase in the colonic mucosa of DSS-colitic mice. We suggest that Maillard reaction products from highly heated food may limit the occurrence of inflammatory phases in IBD patients.

Keywords: Dextran sulfate sodium salt; Experimental intestinal inflammation; Food heat treatment; Intestinal barrier; Maillard reaction products; Mast cell.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Count
  • Colitis / chemically induced
  • Colitis / drug therapy*
  • Colon / drug effects
  • Colon / enzymology
  • Dextran Sulfate
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Glycation End Products, Advanced / pharmacology*
  • Inflammation / chemically induced
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / chemically induced
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / drug therapy
  • Intestinal Mucosa / cytology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / drug effects
  • Male
  • Mast Cells / cytology
  • Mast Cells / drug effects*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Weight Loss


  • Glycation End Products, Advanced
  • Dextran Sulfate
  • Peroxidase