Investigating the gut microbiome and metabolome following treatment with artificial sweeteners acesulfame potassium and saccharin in young adult Wistar rats

Aishwarya Murali*, Varun Giri, Hunter James Cameron, Saskia Sperber, Franziska Maria Zickgraf, Volker Haake, Peter Driemert, Tilmann Walk, Hennicke Kamp, Ivonne Rietjens, Bennard van Ravenzwaay

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

To elucidate if artificial sweeteners modify fecal bacterial composition and the fecal and plasma metabolomes, Wistar rats from both sexes were treated for 28 days with acesulfame potassium (40 and 120 mg/kg body weight) and saccharin (20 and 100 mg/kg body weight). Targeted MS-based metabolome profiling (plasma and feces) and fecal 16S gene sequencing were conducted. Both sweeteners exhibited only minor effects on the fecal metabolome and microbiota. Saccharin treatment significantly altered amino acids, lipids, energy metabolism and specifically, bile acids in the plasma metabolome. Additionally, sex-specific differences were observed for conjugated primary and secondary bile acids. Acesulfame potassium treated male rats showed larger alterations in glycine conjugated primary and secondary bile-acids than females. Other changes in the plasma metabolome were more profound for saccharin than acesulfame potassium, for both sexes. Changes in conjugated bile-acids in plasma, which are often associated with microbiome changes, and the absence of similarly large changes in microbiota suggest an adaptative change of the latter, rather than toxicity. Further studies with a high resolution 16S sequencing data and/or metagenomics approach, with particular emphasis on bile acids, will be required to explore the mechanisms driving this metabolic outcome of saccharin in Wistar rats.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113123
JournalFood and Chemical Toxicology
Volume165
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022

Keywords

  • 16S rRNA gene sequencing
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Gut microbiota
  • Metabolite profiles
  • Metabolomics
  • Repeated dose toxicity

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