The gut microbiota plays a significant role in the progression of fatty liver disease; however, the mediators and their mechanisms remain to be elucidated. Comparing metabolite profile differences between germ-free and conventionally raised mice against differences between mice fed a low- and high-fat diet (HFD), we identified tryptamine and indole-3-acetate (I3A) as metabolites that depend on the microbiota and are depleted under a HFD. Both metabolites reduced fatty-acid- and LPS-stimulated production of pro-inflammatory cytokines in macrophages and inhibited the migration of cells toward a chemokine, with I3A exhibiting greater potency. In hepatocytes, I3A attenuated inflammatory responses under lipid loading and reduced the expression of fatty acid synthase and sterol regulatory element-binding protein-1c. These effects were abrogated in the presence of an aryl-hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) antagonist, indicating that the effects are AhR dependent. Our results suggest that gut microbiota could influence inflammatory responses in the liver through metabolites engaging host receptors.
Keywords: aryl hydrocarbon receptor; gut microbiota; indole-3-acetate; inflammation; metabolomics; nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.