Effect of chronic low-dose treatment with chitooligosaccharides on microbial dysbiosis and inflammation associated chronic ulcerative colitis in Balb/c mice

Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol. 2023 Sep 11. doi: 10.1007/s00210-023-02710-3. Online ahead of print.


The study aimed to investigate the potential of low dose chitooligosaccharide (COS) in ameliorating dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) induced chronic colitis by regulating microbial dysbiosis and pro-inflammatory responses. Chronic colitis was induced in BALB/c mice by DSS (4% w/v, 3 cycles of 5 days) administration. The mice were divided into four groups: vehicle, DSS, DSS + mesalamine and DSS+COS. COS and mesalamine were administered orally, daily once, from day 1 to day 30 at a dose of 20 mg/kg and 50 mg/kg respectively. The disease activity index (DAI), colon length, histopathological score, microbial composition, and pro-inflammatory cytokine expression were evaluated. COS (20 mg/kg, COSLow) administration reduced the disease activity index, and colon shortening, caused by DSS significantly. Furthermore, COSLow restored the altered microbiome in the gut and inhibited the elevated pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1 and IL-6) in the colon against DSS-induced chronic colitis in mice. Moreover, COSLow treatment improved the probiotic microflora thereby restoring the gut homeostasis. In conclusion, this is the first study where microbial dysbiosis and pro-inflammatory responses were modulated by chronic COSLow treatment against DSS-induced chronic colitis in Balb/c mice. Therefore, COS supplementation at a relatively low dose could be efficacious for chronic inflammatory bowel disease.

Keywords: BALB/c mice; Chitooligosaccharides; DSS colitis; Gut microbiota; Inflammation; Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).