Oral supplementation with non-absorbable antibiotics or curcumin attenuates western diet-induced atherosclerosis and glucose intolerance in LDLR-/- mice--role of intestinal permeability and macrophage activation.
Association between circulating lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and metabolic diseases (such as Type 2 Diabetes and atherosclerosis) has shifted the focus from Western diet-induced changes in gut microbiota per se to release of gut bacteria-derived products into circulation as the possible mechanism for the chronic inflammatory state underlying the development of these diseases. Under physiological conditions, an intact intestinal barrier prevents this release of LPS underscoring the importance of examining and modulating the direct effects of Western diet on intestinal barrier function. In the present study we evaluated two strategies, namely selective gut decontamination and supplementation with oral curcumin, to modulate Western-diet (WD) induced changes in intestinal barrier function and subsequent development of glucose intolerance and atherosclerosis. LDLR-/- mice were fed WD for 16 weeks and either received non-absorbable antibiotics (Neomycin and polymyxin) in drinking water for selective gut decontamination or gavaged daily with curcumin. WD significantly increased intestinal permeability as assessed by in vivo translocation of FITC-dextran and plasma LPS levels. Selective gut decontamination and supplementation with curcumin significantly attenuated the WD-induced increase in plasma LPS levels (3.32 vs 1.90 or 1.51 EU/ml, respectively) and improved intestinal barrier function at multiple levels (restoring intestinal alkaline phosphatase activity and expression of tight junction proteins, ZO-1 and Claudin-1). Consequently, both these interventions significantly reduced WD-induced glucose intolerance and atherosclerosis in LDLR-/- mice. Activation of macrophages by low levels of LPS (50 ng/ml) and its exacerbation by fatty acids is likely the mechanism by which release of trace amounts of LPS into circulation due to disruption of intestinal barrier function induces the development of these diseases. These studies not only establish the important role of intestinal barrier function, but also identify oral supplementation with curcumin as a potential therapeutic strategy to improve intestinal barrier function and prevent the development of metabolic diseases.