Dominant effects of the diet on the microbiome and the local and systemic immune response in mice

Jot Hui Ooi, Amanda Waddell, Yang Ding Lin, Istvan Albert, Laura T. Rust, Victoria Holden, Margherita T. Cantorna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Outside the nutrition community the effects of diet on immune-mediated diseases and experimental outcomes have not been appreciated. Investigators that study immune-mediated diseases and/or the microbiome have overlooked the potential of diet to impact disease phenotype. We aimed to determine the effects of diet on the bacterial microbiota and immune-mediated diseases. Three different laboratory diets were fed to wild-type mice for 2 weeks and resulted in three distinct susceptibilities to dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-induced colitis. Examination of the fecal microbiota demonstrated a diet-mediated effect on the bacteria found there. Broad-spectrum antibiotics disturbed the gut microbiome and partially eliminated the diet-mediated changes in DSS susceptibility. Dietary changes 2 days after DSS treatment were protective and suggested that the diet-mediated effect occurred quickly. There were no diet-mediated effects on DSS susceptibility in germ-free mice. In addition, the diet-mediated effects were evident in a gastrointestinal infection model (Citrobacter rodentium) and in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Taken together, our study demonstrates a dominant effect of diet on immune-mediated diseases that act rapidly by changing the microbiota. These findings highlight the potential of using dietary manipulation to control the microbiome and prevent/treat immune-mediated disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere86366
JournalPloS one
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 29 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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