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The diet rapidly and differentially affects the gut microbiota and host lipid mediators in a healthy population

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Biomed Central

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Background Bioactive lipids produced by human cells or by the gut microbiota might play an important role in health and disease. Dietary intakes are key determinants of the gut microbiota, its production of short-chain (SCFAs) and branched-chain fatty acids (BCFAs), and of the host endocannabinoidome signalling, which are all involved in metabolic diseases. This hypothesis-driven longitudinal fixed sequence nutritional study, realized in healthy participants, was designed to determine if a lead-in diet affects the host response to a short-term dietary intervention. Participants received a Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) for 3 days, a 13-day lead-in controlled diet reflecting the average Canadian dietary intake (CanDiet), and once again a MedDiet for 3 consecutive days. Fecal and blood samples were collected at the end of each dietary phase to evaluate alterations in gut microbiota composition and plasma levels of endocannabinoidome mediators, SCFAs, and BCFAs. Results We observed an immediate and reversible modulation of plasma endocannabinoidome mediators, BCFAs, and some SCFAs in response to both diets. BCFAs were more strongly reduced by the MedDiet when the latter was preceded by the lead-in CanDiet. The gut microbiota response was also immediate, but not all changes due to the CanDiet were reversible following a short dietary MedDiet intervention. Higher initial microbiome diversity was associated with reduced microbiota modulation after short-term dietary interventions. We also observed that BCFAs and 2-monoacylglycerols had many, but distinct, correlations with gut microbiota composition. Several taxa modulated by dietary intervention were previously associated to metabolic disorders, warranting the need to control for recent diet in observational association studies. Conclusions Our results indicate that lipid mediators involved in the communication between the gut microbiota and host metabolism exhibit a rapid response to dietary changes, which is also the case for some, but not all, microbiome taxa. The lead-in diet influenced the gut microbiome and BCFA, but not the endocannabinoidome, response to the MedDiet. A higher initial microbiome diversity favored the stability of the gut microbiota in response to dietary changes. This study highlights the importance of considering the previous diet in studies relating the gut microbiome with lipid signals involved in host metabolism.



Microbiome, 11 (26), 2-16 (2023)



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Endocannabinoid, Endocannabinoidome, Short-chain fatty acids, Polyunsaturated fatty acids, Metabolomics, Diet, Mediterranean, Western diet, Gut microbiota, Microbiome diversity


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