Modulating the gut microbiota by dietary guar gum protects against diet-induced obesity but promotes non-alcoholic steatohepatitis in mice

  • Aafke Janssen (Creator)
  • Tom Houben (Creator)
  • Saeed Katiraei (Creator)
  • Lily Boutens (Creator)
  • Nieke van der Bolt (Creator)
  • Zeneng Wang (Creator)
  • Jonathan M. Brown (Creator)
  • Stanley L. Hazen (Creator)
  • Ronit Shiri-Sverdlov (Creator)
  • Ko Willems van Dijk (Creator)
  • Jacques Vervoort (Creator)
  • Rinke Stienstra (Creator)
  • Guido Hooiveld (Creator)
  • Sander Kersten (Creator)



Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is rapidly becoming the most common liver disease worldwide, yet the pathogenesis of NAFLD is only partially understood. Here, we investigated the role of the gut bacteria in NAFLD by stimulating the gut bacteria via feeding mice the fermentable dietary fiber guar gum and suppressing the gut bacteria via chronic oral administration of antibiotics. Guar gum feeding profoundly altered the gut microbiota composition, in parallel with reduced diet-induced obesity and improved glucose tolerance. Strikingly, despite reducing adipose tissue mass and inflammation, guar gum enhanced hepatic inflammation and fibrosis, concurrent with markedly elevated plasma and hepatic bile acid levels. Consistent with a role of elevated bile acids in the liver phenotype, treatment of mice with taurocholic acid stimulated hepatic inflammation and fibrosis. In contrast to guar gum, chronic oral administration of antibiotics effectively suppressed the gut bacteria, decreased portal secondary bile acid levels, and attenuated hepatic inflammation and fibrosis. Neither guar gum or antibiotics influenced plasma lipopolysaccharide levels. In conclusion, our data indicate a causal link between changes in gut microbiota and hepatic inflammation and fibrosis in a mouse model of NAFLD, possibly via alterations in bile acids.
Date made available6 Jun 2017
PublisherWageningen University


  • Mus musculus

Accession numbers

  • GSE76087
  • PRJNA306172

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