Goji Berry Modulates Gut Microbiota and Alleviates Colitis in IL-10-Deficient Mice

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2018 Nov;62(22):e1800535. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201800535. Epub 2018 Oct 7.


Scope: This study examines the beneficial effects of Goji berry against spontaneous colitis and its prebiotic role in IL-10-deficient mice.

Methods: IL-10-deficient mice are assigned to a standard rodent diet (control) or a control diet supplemented with Goji (1% of dry feed weight) for 10 weeks, at which point colonic tissues and fecal contents are collected.

Results: Goji supplementation decreases colonic pathobiological scores and mRNA expression of Il17a and Tgfb1, while it enhances Muc1 expression and fecal IgA content. Illumina MiSeq sequencing reveals that Goji supplementation increases Actinobacteria phylum, resulting in a bloom of Bifidobacteria in gut microbiota. Additionally, dietary Goji promotes butyrate-producing bacteria including Lachnospiraceae-Ruminococcaceae family and Roseburia spp. under Clostridium cluster XIVa. Furthermore, butyrate-producers Clostridium leptum and its dominant constituent Fecalibacterium prazusnitzii are markedly increased in the Goji group. Moreover, the gene-encoding butyryl-coenzyme A CoA transferase, a key enzyme responsible for butyrate synthesis in butyrate-producing bacteria, is increased sixfold in the fecal samples of Goji group associated with increased fecal butyrate content.

Conclusion: Data collectively show that dietary Goji results in the blooming of Bifidobacteria and butyrate-producing bacteria. These bacteria may cross-feed each other, conferring preventative effects against colitis in IL-10-deficient mice.

Keywords: Bifidobacteria, butyrate-producing bacteria; Goji; IBD; gut microbiota; interleukin-10.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Butyrates / metabolism
  • Colitis / diet therapy*
  • Colitis / microbiology
  • Colitis / physiopathology
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / physiology*
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / etiology
  • Interleukin-10 / genetics*
  • Interleukin-10 / metabolism
  • Lycium*
  • Male
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Prebiotics*


  • Butyrates
  • IL10 protein, mouse
  • Prebiotics
  • Interleukin-10