Low whole grain consumption is a risk factor for the development of non-communicable diseases such as type 2 diabetes. Dietary fiber and phytochemicals are bioactive grain compounds, which could be involved in mediating these beneficial effects. These compounds are not equally distributed in the wheat grain, but are enriched in the bran and aleurone fractions. As little is known on physiological effects of different wheat fractions, the aim of this study was to investigate this aspect in an obesity model. For twelve weeks, C57BL/6J mice were fed high-fat diets (HFD), supplemented with one of four wheat fractions: whole grain flour, refined white flour, bran, or aleurone. The different diets did not affect body weight, however bran and aleurone decreased liver triglyceride content, and increased hepatic n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) concentrations. Furthermore, lipidomics analysis revealed increased PUFA concentration in the lipid classes of phosphatidylcholine (PC), PC-ether, and phosphatidylinositol in the plasma of mice fed whole grain, bran, and aleurone supplemented diets, compared to refined white flour. Furthermore, bran, aleurone, and whole grain supplemented diets increased microbial α-diversity, but only bran and aleurone increased the cecal concentrations of short-chain fatty acids. The effects on hepatic lipid metabolism might thus at least partially be mediated by microbiota-dependent mechanisms.
Keywords: SCFA; aleurone; bran; lipid metabolism; microbiota; obesity; wheat; whole grain.