Lactic acid bacteria-derived γ-linolenic acid metabolites are PPARδ ligands that reduce lipid accumulation in human intestinal organoids

J Biol Chem. 2022 Nov;298(11):102534. doi: 10.1016/j.jbc.2022.102534. Epub 2022 Sep 24.


Gut microbiota regulate physiological functions in various hosts, such as energy metabolism and immunity. Lactic acid bacteria, including Lactobacillus plantarum, have a specific polyunsaturated fatty acid saturation metabolism that generates multiple fatty acid species, such as hydroxy fatty acids, oxo fatty acids, conjugated fatty acids, and trans-fatty acids. How these bacterial metabolites impact host physiology is not fully understood. Here, we investigated the ligand activity of lactic acid bacteria-produced fatty acids in relation to nuclear hormone receptors expressed in the small intestine. Our reporter assays revealed two bacterial metabolites of γ-linolenic acid (GLA), 13-hydroxy-cis-6,cis-9-octadecadienoic acid (γHYD), and 13-oxo-cis-6,cis-9-octadecadienoic acid (γKetoD) activated peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor delta (PPARδ) more potently than GLA. We demonstrate that both γHYD and γKetoD bound directly to the ligand-binding domain of human PPARδ. A docking simulation indicated that four polar residues (T289, H323, H449, and Y473) of PPARδ donate hydrogen bonds to these fatty acids. Interestingly, T289 does not donate a hydrogen bond to GLA, suggesting that bacterial modification of GLA introducing hydroxy and oxo group determines ligand selectivity. In human intestinal organoids, we determined γHYD and γKetoD increased the expression of PPARδ target genes, enhanced fatty acid β-oxidation, and reduced intracellular triglyceride accumulation. These findings suggest that γHYD and γKetoD, which gut lactic acid bacteria could generate, are naturally occurring PPARδ ligands in the intestinal tract and may improve lipid metabolism in the human intestine.

Keywords: PPAR; PPARδ; fatty acid; fatty acid oxidation; gut microbiota; intestine; lactic acid bacteria; nuclear hormone receptor; organoids; transcription factor; γ-linolenic acid.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Intestine, Small* / metabolism
  • Intestine, Small* / microbiology
  • Lactobacillales* / metabolism
  • Ligands
  • Organoids / metabolism
  • PPAR delta* / metabolism
  • gamma-Linolenic Acid* / metabolism


  • gamma-Linolenic Acid
  • Ligands
  • PPAR delta