This efficacy trial evaluated the effects of two polyphenolic stilbenes, resveratrol and pterostilbene, mostly found in grapes, on the brush border membrane functionality, morphology and gut microbiome. This study applied the validated Gallus gallus intra-amniotic approach to investigate the effects of stilbene administration versus the controls. Three treatment groups (5% resveratrol; 5% pterostilbene; and synergistic: 4.75% resveratrol and 0.25% pterostilbene) and three controls (18 MΩ H2O; no injection; 5% inulin) were employed. We observed beneficial morphological changes, specifically an increase in the villus length, diameter, depth of crypts and goblet cell diameter in the pterostilbene and synergistic groups, with concomitant increases in the serum iron and zinc concentrations. Further, the alterations in gene expression of the mineral metabolism proteins and pro-inflammatory cytokines indicate a potential improvement in gut health and mineral bioavailability. The cecal microbiota was analyzed using 16S rRNA sequencing. A lower α-diversity was observed in the synergistic group compared with the other treatment groups. However, beneficial compositional and functional alterations in the gut microbiome were detected. Several key microbial metabolic pathways were differentially enriched in the pterostilbene treatment group. These observations demonstrate a significant bacterial-host interaction that contributed to enhancements in intestinal functionality, morphology and physiological status. Our data demonstrate a novel understanding of the nutritional benefits of dietary stilbenes and their effects on intestinal functionality, morphology and gut microbiota in vivo.
Keywords: brush border functionality; gut microbiome; intra-amniotic administration; polyphenol; pterostilbene; resveratrol; stilbene.