Prebiotic inulin enhances gut microbial metabolism and anti-inflammation in apolipoprotein E4 mice with sex-specific implications

Sci Rep. 2023 Sep 13;13(1):15116. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-42381-x.


Gut dysbiosis has been identified as a crucial factor of Alzheimer's disease (AD) development for apolipoprotein E4 (APOE4) carriers. Inulin has shown the potential to mitigate dysbiosis. However, it remains unclear whether the dietary response varies depending on sex. In the study, we fed 4-month-old APOE4 mice with inulin for 16 weeks and performed shotgun metagenomic sequencing to determine changes in microbiome diversity, taxonomy, and functional gene pathways. We also formed the same experiments with APOE3 mice to identify whether there are APOE-genotype dependent responses to inulin. We found that APOE4 female mice fed with inulin had restored alpha diversity, significantly reduced Escherichia coli and inflammation-associated pathway responses. However, compared with APOE4 male mice, they had less metabolic responses, including the levels of short-chain fatty acids-producing bacteria and the associated kinases, especially those related to acetate and Erysipelotrichaceae. These diet- and sex- effects were less pronounced in the APOE3 mice, indicating that different APOE variants also play a significant role. The findings provide insights into the higher susceptibility of APOE4 females to AD, potentially due to inefficient energy production, and imply the importance of considering precision nutrition for mitigating dysbiosis and AD risk in the future.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease*
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Apolipoprotein E3
  • Apolipoprotein E4 / genetics
  • Dysbiosis
  • Escherichia coli
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Inulin / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Mice


  • Apolipoprotein E4
  • Apolipoprotein E3
  • Inulin
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents