Increasing evidence has confirmed that the antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects of cinnamon essential oil (CEO) contribute to protection against inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-induced colitis mouse model was established to investigate the correlation between the protective effects of CEO and the regulation of intestinal microflora. The symptoms of IBD were assessed by measuring the hemoglobin content, myeloperoxidase activity, histopathological observation, cytokines, and toll-like receptor (TLR4) expression. The alteration of the fecal microbiome composition was analyzed by 16S rRNA gene sequencing. The results indicated that the oral administration of CEO enriched with cinnamaldehyde effectively alleviated the development of DSS-induced colitis. In contrast to the inability of antibiotics to regulate flora imbalance, the mice fed with CEO had an improved diversity and richness of intestinal microbiota, and a modified community composition with a decrease in Helicobacter and Bacteroides and an increase in Bacteroidales_S24-7 family and short-chain fatty acids (SCFA)-producing bacteria (Alloprevotella and Lachnospiraceae_NK4A136_group). Moreover, the correlation analysis showed that TLR4 and tumor necrosis factor-α was positively correlated with Helicobacter, but inversely correlated with SCFA-producing bacteria. These findings indicated from a new perspective that the inhibitory effect of CEO on IBD was closely related to improving the intestinal flora imbalance.
Keywords: 16S rRNA gene sequencing; cinnamon essential oil; dextran sodium sulfate-induced colitis; gut microbiota.
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