Lactose and Fructo-oligosaccharides Increase Visceral Sensitivity in Mice via Glycation Processes, Increasing Mast Cell Density in Colonic Mucosa

Gastroenterology. 2020 Feb;158(3):652-663.e6. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2019.10.037. Epub 2019 Nov 9.


Background & aims: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is characterized by abdominal pain, bloating, and erratic bowel habits. A diet low in fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols (FODMAPs) can reduce symptoms of IBS, possibly by reducing microbial fermentation products. We investigated whether ingestion of FODMAPs can induce IBS-like visceral hypersensitivity mediated by fermentation products of intestinal microbes in mice.

Methods: C57Bl/6 mice were gavaged with lactose, with or without the antiglycation agent pyridoxamine, or saline (controls) daily for 3 weeks. A separate group of mice were fed a diet containing fructo-oligosaccharides, with or without pyridoxamine in drinking water, or a normal chow diet (controls) for 6 weeks. Feces were collected and analyzed by 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequencing and bacterial community analyses. Abdominal sensitivity was measured by electromyography and mechanical von Frey filament assays. Colon tissues were collected from some mice and analyzed by histology and immunofluorescence to quantify mast cells and expression of advanced glycosylation end-product specific receptor (AGER).

Results: Mice gavaged with lactose or fed fructo-oligosaccharides had increased abdominal sensitivity compared with controls, associated with increased numbers of mast cells in colon and expression of the receptor for AGER in proximal colon epithelium. These effects were prevented by administration of pyridoxamine. Lactose and/or pyridoxamine did not induce significant alterations in the composition of the fecal microbiota. Mass spectrometric analysis of carbonyl compounds in fecal samples identified signatures associated with mice given lactose or fructo-oligosaccharides vs controls.

Conclusions: We found that oral administration of lactose or fructo-oligosaccharides to mice increases abdominal sensitivity, associated with increased numbers of mast cells in colon and expression of AGER; these can be prevented with an antiglycation agent. Lactose and/or pyridoxamine did not produce alterations in fecal microbiota of mice. Our findings indicate that preventing glycation reactions might reduce abdominal pain in patients with IBS with sensitivity to FODMAPs.

Keywords: Advanced Glycation End Products; Functional Bowel Disorder; Mastocytes; Mouse Model.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Oblique Muscles / physiopathology
  • Animals
  • Colon / metabolism
  • Colon / pathology*
  • Diet
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Electromyography
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Fermentation
  • Gastrointestinal Transit
  • Hyperalgesia / chemically induced
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Intestinal Mucosa / pathology*
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / metabolism
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / pathology*
  • Lactose / administration & dosage*
  • Lactose / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mast Cells
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Oligosaccharides / administration & dosage*
  • Oligosaccharides / metabolism
  • Pyridoxamine / pharmacology
  • Receptor for Advanced Glycation End Products / metabolism
  • Vitamin B Complex / pharmacology


  • Oligosaccharides
  • Receptor for Advanced Glycation End Products
  • Vitamin B Complex
  • Pyridoxamine
  • Lactose