UC Study Looks at The Influence of Fat When Gut Bacteria is Reduced by Antibiotics
CINCINNATI—A study led by University of Cincinnati (UC) lipid
metabolism researchers lends additional insight into how bacteria
in the gut, or lack thereof, influences intestinal mast cells (MMC)
activation and perhaps fat absorption
The study, "Antibiotics Suppress Activation of Intestinal Mucosal
Mast Cells and Reduce Dietary Lipid Absorption in Sprague-Dawley
Rats,” is currently available in the online edition of
change in the absorption of fat is very important for the
development of obesity studies,” says the study’s
principal investigator Patrick Tso, PhD, Mary Emery Professor of
Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the
UC College of Medicine.
According to the National Institute Diabetes and Digestive and
Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health (NIH),
overweight and obesity are risk factors for Type 2 diabetes, heart
disease, high blood pressure, and other health problems.
In the study, funded by NIH R01DK092138,
Tso and his team compared intestinal fat absorption and mast cell
activation in rodents placed on antibiotics to clear their systems
of bacteria and a control group, and then introduced lipids (fats)
to both groups.
"Our results suggest that the presence of gut microbiota is
involved in MMC activation, induced by the ingestion of fat,
and contributes to fat-induced permeability,” says Tso,
adding that the study also found a "novel role of the gut
microbiome in the promoting the absorption of
Mast cells are intimately involved with the immune system in the
body. They come from bone marrow and go into all tissues of the
body. Each mast cell contains secretory granules (storage sacs),
each containing powerful biologically active molecules called
mediators. These can be secreted when mast cells are activated,
leading to allergic and inflammatory responses.
Mast cells also play a key role in the defense of the
gastrointestinal tract against foreign organisms, says Tso, and
while the absorption of fat is actually associated with mucosal
mast cell activation, it is not known exactly what role gut
"This effect is specific to fat, since the absorption of
carbohydrates or protein does not activate mucosal mast
cells,” says Tso.
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