Polyphenols as Drivers of a Homeostatic Gut Microecology and Immuno-Metabolic Traits of Akkermansia muciniphila: From Mouse to Man

María Carolina Rodríguez-Daza, Willem M. de Vos*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Akkermansia muciniphila is a mucosal symbiont considered a gut microbial marker in healthy individuals, as its relative abundance is significantly reduced in subjects with gut inflammation and metabolic disturbances. Dietary polyphenols can distinctly stimulate the relative abundance of A. muciniphila, contributing to the attenuation of several diseases, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, inflammatory bowel diseases, and liver damage. However, mechanistic insight into how polyphenols stimulate A. muciniphila or its activity is limited. This review focuses on dietary interventions in rodents and humans and in vitro studies using different phenolic classes. We provide critical insights with respect to potential mechanisms explaining the effects of polyphenols affecting A. muciniphila. Anthocyanins, flavan-3-ols, flavonols, flavanones, stilbenes, and phenolic acids are shown to increase relative A. muciniphila levels in vivo, whereas lignans exert the opposite effect. Clinical trials show consistent findings, and high intervariability relying on the gut microbiota composition at the baseline and the presence of multiple polyphenol degraders appear to be cardinal determinants in inducing A. muciniphila and associated benefits by polyphenol intake. Polyphenols signal to the AhR receptor and impact the relative abundance of A. muciniphila in a direct and indirect fashion, resulting in the restoration of intestinal epithelial integrity and homeostatic crosstalk with the gut microbiota by affecting IL-22 production. Moreover, recent evidence suggests that A. muciniphila participates in the initial hydrolysis of some polyphenols but does not participate in their complete metabolism. In conclusion, the consumption of polyphenol-rich foods targeting A. muciniphila as a pivotal intermediary represents a promising precision nutritional therapy to prevent and attenuate metabolic and inflammatory diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number45
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


  • AhR
  • Akkermansia muciniphila
  • ecological niche
  • gut microbiota
  • IL-22
  • phenolic metabolites
  • polyphenol degraders
  • polyphenols


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