High Fat Diets Induce Colonic Epithelial Cell Stress and Inflammation that is Reversed by IL-22

Max Gulhane, Lydia Murray, Rohan Lourie, Hui Tong, Yong H. Sheng, Ran Wang, Alicia Kang, Veronika Schreiber, Kuan Yau Wong, Graham Magor, Stuart E Denman, Jakob Begun, Timothy H. Florin, Andrew Perkins, Páraic Cuív, Michael A. McGuckin, Sumaira Z. Hasnain

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197 Citations (Scopus)


Prolonged high fat diets (HFD) induce low-grade chronic intestinal inflammation in mice, and diets high in saturated fat are a risk factor for the development of human inflammatory bowel diseases. We hypothesized that HFD-induced endoplasmic reticulum (ER)/oxidative stress occur in intestinal secretory goblet cells, triggering inflammatory signaling and reducing synthesis/secretion of proteins that form the protective mucus barrier. In cultured intestinal cells non-esterified long-chain saturated fatty acids directly increased oxidative/ER stress leading to protein misfolding. A prolonged HFD elevated the intestinal inflammatory cytokine signature, alongside compromised mucosal barrier integrity with a decrease in goblet cell differentiation and Muc2, a loss in the tight junction protein, claudin-1 and increased serum endotoxin levels. In Winnie mice, that develop spontaneous colitis, HFD-feeding increased ER stress, further compromised the mucosal barrier and increased the severity of colitis. In obese mice IL-22 reduced ER/oxidative stress and improved the integrity of the mucosal barrier, and reversed microbial changes associated with obesity with an increase in Akkermansia muciniphila. Consistent with epidemiological studies, our experiments suggest that HFDs are likely to impair intestinal barrier function, particularly in early life, which partially involves direct effects of free-fatty acids on intestinal cells, and this can be reversed by IL-22 therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number28990
Number of pages17
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes

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